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Making Winter Training Fun

Winter triathlon training can be hard to get into. When the weather turns cold, most of us tend to start to loathe training. This time of year the trainers get set up, and the treadmills get dusted off and transformed from clothing rack to training tool. From long hours on the trainer, to staring at walls on a treadmill, the monotony can be brutal. In this post, we will share our favorite ways to break up the winter training and make it fun!


1. Virtual Reality Riding And Racing

One of the most popular ways people are getting through their winter bike miles these past couple years has been the world of virtual reality. Apps like Zwift, Rouvy, Ful Gaz, and others are giving riders something to look forward to during their trainer time.


Zwift is a virtual world that enables riders to use many different modes to entertain themselves while on the trainer. Zwift connects to your smart trainer, or speed/cadence sensor, and puts your avatar through many different routes and rides in their virtual world. Zwift not only allows you to choose from many different routes with various elevation profiles and scenery, Zwift also has options to create and join in group rides and races every day. Group rides are great opport


unities to continue riding with your buddies, without trudging through several feet of snow in below 0 temps. The text function allows you to make fun of each other just like you would on your summer rides when your friend shows up to the ride in ankle socks. Races are divided into different categories based on your Watts//Kg (take your FTP and divide it by your weight in KG, that will give you your Watts/Kg score.) Once you know your FTP w/kg, selecting a category is easy. These are the most common category boundaries:

  • A = 4.0 w/kg and above

  • B = 3.2-3.9 w/kg

  • C = 2.5-3.1 w/kg

  • D = 2.4 w/kg and below

Zwift also has training workouts and plans available to subscribers, and syncs with Training peaks so your coaches scheduled workouts can be downloaded and preformed in the app. Rouvy and Ful Gaz are similar apps that take on a more realistic feel to your virtual rides. These apps allow you to preview real race courses, and ride some of the worlds most beautiful routes. They give the user a google earth style view as they cruise through the selectred route. This is a fantastic option for those living in cold climates with early season races scheduled. These apps let you get a look at the course you are going to be riding, and allow you to pick out landmarks to look for throughout the course and become more familiar with the area. Riding the race route can also allow you to gauge if you have any weaknesses that need to be addressed before you arrive on race day.


2. Make A Pump Up Playlist

Music does a lot of cool things to our bodies. Listening to music increases blood flow to brain regions that generate and control emotions. The limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions and controlling memory, “lights” up when our ears perceive music. This can be very useful when spending time on the trainer and treadmill. Music can provide a much needed mental escape from the monotonous repetition that happens during indoor training. If you are able to find music with around 180bpm (roughly the optimal running and riding cadence) , it can create a rhythm response from the body where you will subconsciously start to sync up with the beat of the music. Because music elevates mood it can also motivate you to keep going through physical discomfort. Pumping up the jams is not only fun, but can provide a positive impact on your workout performance!


3. Take A Training Vacation To A Warm Place

Instead of waiting for the weather to finally turn warm again, go chase it! Plan a trip with friends or find a training camp down south and get away from the cold. This break from the weather can provide so much more than just an opportunity to train outside. Sunlight and fresh air is proven to help combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which happens to many during the cold months up north. Being in the sunlight for just 30-60 minutes a day will boost your mood and give you a renewed sense of motivation and positivity when you head back to the indoor training days. This is why we run a winter camp in February or March at Branden Scheel Racing. These camps provide a way for athletes to get together and enjoy

some company and sunlight while getting many days of quality workouts in. During these


camps athletes will also benefit from coaches being on hand at every workout they do. These coaches provide instant feedback to the athletes and allows them to improve significantly faster.

4. Buy Warm Clothing And Go Outside Anyway

Contrary to what some believe, they do sell winter riding clothing. If you are in an area that clears roads or bike paths well during the winter, you're in luck. Head to your local bike shop and get some winter riding clothing. Below is a list of items we would recommend:


Warm thermal tights

Thermal shoe covers

Base Layers

Weatherproof jacket

Skull cap

Thermal gloves

Thick tread tires


Once you have obtained all of these items, the bike paths and back roads will likely be empty. Getting the sunshine and fresh air can be very uplifting during the long winter months. With your body generating heat while working out, you may be surprised how comfortable the cold temperatures can be with just a few key pieces of clothing. Whether you ride a fat bike, mountain bike, or road bike with bigger tire tread, make sure you find routes that correlate with your bike/tire choice. Also remember to lower your tire pressure to help with traction in the slippery conditions. Start out with short tides to get used to what you need to wear, how the bike handles, and become familiar with road conditions. Be careful heading out, watch out for ice patches and avoid riding during sunset when the melt freezes again.

Lastly, the salt that many states use to clean the roads during winter is very harmful to your bike. If you choose to ride outside, remember to clean your bike after each and every ride to preserve the components and prevent them from rusting out.


5. Learn Something New From A Podcast

There is a lot of amazing information out there, and you have a lot of training time on your hands during the winter. This is a great time to grow not only physically, but mentally too. This may not be a good option for the hard interval workouts, but a possible option during your easy aerobic workouts, or your steady long efforts. Find a subject you are interested in, or want to know more about and look for the most popular podcasts on that subject. Podcasts are abundant in today's world. They cover topics from animal attacks, popular gossip, triathlon tips, to unsolved mysteries. There are so many things to learn while spending this time training, take advantage of it and grow your knowledge of whatever topic you choose.


These are just some of the ways to improve your view on training in the winter. There are a lot more great ways to make it through the winter months. Pick the one that helps you the most and enhance your training!


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