How to Ride Year-Round
You are convinced of the benefits of cycling year-round and then you look out the window. Here are some tips on how to ride even in the winter:
• Stay Warm: Dress in layers with a wicking layer next to your skin to wick the sweat away so you don't get damp and chill. You can also adjust the layers as the temperature changes. For more see my article on 12 Tips for Staying Warm During Winter Bike Rides:
More: 12 Tips for Staying Warm on Winter Rides
• Eat and Drink Enough: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends consuming every hour 0.3 gm of carbohydrate per pound of body weight (0.7 g per kg)—you may need more in the winter because you are also using fuel to stay warm. You are probably sweating less, but still need fluid. Drink to satisfy your thirst.
More: 9 Nutrition Tips for Winter Cycling
• Pace Yourself: You are riding for fitness and fun! If you ride at a moderate aerobic pace you'll improve your endurance and if you eat and drink enough you'll have the fuel to finish the ride.
• Stop to Warm Up: Make the ride more enjoyable with a stop or two for a hot drink and lunch.
• Ride Tactically: Each of the programs allows you to pick the day(s) when you will do your qualifying ride(s). If possible, choose the first tolerable day in the month to complete the ride in case the conditions are bad the rest of the month.
• Ride Regularly: To maintain fitness you need aerobic exercise at least three days a week and for general health five days are better.
• Vary Your Weekend Exercise: Rather than trying to exercise about the same amount every weekend, vary the volume. For example:
- Week 1: 7-hour ride for RUSA P-12
- Week 2: 1.5-hour active recovery outing (20% of length of week 1)
- Week 3: 3.5-hour ride or other aerobic activity (50% of length of week 1)
- Week 4: 2.5- hour ride or other aerobic activity (35% of week 1)
- Week 5: 7-hour ride for RUSA P-12
• Cross-Train: You need to complete specific rides for each program; however, get out and have fun in other ways on other weekends.
Stick With It
Only about 10 percent of resolutions survive a year! Setting S.M.A.R.T. objectives, posting them where you will see them every day, sharing them with others and participating in a structured program will help you to stick with it. Believe in yourself, remember that you are exercising for greater fitness and health and enjoy your time on the bike!
More: 12 Common Century Ride Mistakes
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