Winter Activities for Cyclists

The days of three-hour bike rides under a warm, cloudless sky are coming to an end. Cold weather has already swept into many towns and the rain, sleet and snow is right behind it—if it's not there already.

The cold and snow can make it nearly impossible to get outside and train. You can bundle up with booties, balaclavas, thermal tights and heavy jackets, but you don't want your cycling workouts to become a chore, and hate your bike by February.

To combat the limitations that winter brings, there are some alternative exercises to bike training. While they don't mimic the exact pedaling motion, they can help maintain fitness without riding.

More: 10 Workouts Every Cyclist Should Do

Cross-Country Skiing

There's a reason why cross-country skiers have one of the highest V02 max values of all athletes: This sport is hard. It's a great way to train the heart and lungs and maintain leg strength.

Skate skiing is similar to cross-country, but it's more of a skating motion instead of forward and backward. This type uses more legs than arms, so it can be an even better form of skiing for cyclists. Skate skiers also don't need to continually wax their skis, which makes for easier maintenance.

Running

As much as cyclists may hate it, running is beneficial. It's an easy, convenient way to get in a quick cardiovascular workout that is leg dominant. It takes significantly less time to complete a good run workout compared to a bike workout. You can also run after work when the light is starting to fade and it's too dark to ride.

Initially, you should start with a higher frequency of runs and shorter durations. This should help prevent injuries. As your body adapts to the new stress, you can add duration and mix it up with trails and hills.

Hiking/Snowshoeing

Hiking is another great activity for winter. Even on cold, snowy days, you can bundle up and head to the trail for a low-intensity cardio workout. When it's too snowy for normal snow boots, try wearing a pair of snowshoes. These are great for active recovery days and help maintain leg strength.

More: The Pros and Cons of Riding in Cold Weather

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About the Author

Elizabeth Martin

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

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