Effective Cycling Training for 'BAD WEATHER' Days - Part 2

Dec 14, 2012

By Stephen Gallagher


Gallagher takes us through other training options and sessions on various cycling disciplines to help maximise training at this time of year.

Mountain Bike/Cyclocross

Bad weather and especially ice can lead us 'off road' to get training stimulus for the day.

How to make the most of it?

    • Depending on your terrain and surface of trails you can sometimes continue a large volume of hours by riding trails for up to 3+hrs, it is a great workout on on a MTB for a longer endurance session.


    • If on a shorter trail with limited time the shorter single tracks can help you increase intensity and produce a better skill session. Hit the short climbs hard and intensive while maintaining a good aerobic workout by getting 1½ – 2hrs in total riding time in with some explosive efforts on MTB/Cyclocross bike.


    • Keep to forest tracks that are not affected by large amounts of mud and dirt which will enable you to get a consistent ride in without stop starting to clear brakes/gears etc.


    • Use the off road day to help increase bike skills and confidence.


    1. You can continue to keep a good volume of training hours.


    1. Helps maintain bike skills otherwise not developed on the road.


    1. Short sharp hills/turns can help maintain or increase your 'explosive' power.


    1. Normally warmer conditions within forestry area, easier on aerobic ability along with less potential to hit ice.


    1. Time spent to travel to forest park/available trails. Depending on your location this can entail a car journey.


    1. Necessity to borrow a bike if you have not purchased one.


    1. Moving from one style of bike to another, e.g road to MTB can lead to niggles, injury, uncomfortable cycling.

Cross Training


This may consist of gym work or pilates/core class, some people may also swim, run or cross country ski if you have that luxury to be able to do so.

How to make the most of it?

    • Ensure all your movements are specific and safe to avoid injury.


    • If in a gym try and extend your warm up and/or cool down on aerobic machines (row/bike/ski machines) to help increase your time building aerobic endurance and ability.


    • Do not over do any weights or lifts that are outside of your usual target weight so to avoid excess muscle soreness in the days following session.


    • Maintain a healthy aerobic workout by running, skiing or swimming. Generally a higher requirement of oxygen consumption is needed in these sports which can cross over to cycling benefits well if done within your limits. These sessions need only be 45min-1¼hr to make this a productive day.


    1. Gym work can help isolate certain muscle groups and develop specific areas that would not be developed by doing a bike ride.


    1. Help improve core/strength that would otherwise not of been worked on if on the road.


    1. Increase in Vo2 efforts due to a higher oxygen consumption doing an intensive run/ski/swim session.


    1. Time needed to travel to facility to perform the above sessions.


    1. Risk of injury by doing cross training can be high in not used to such exercises or over ambitious lifts in gym with wrong posture.


    1. Reduced total hours training, can result in a lowered development of overall 'endurance/base' fitness if this was what you wanted to achieve on this particular day.

The above is just a guide line you can use to decide when deciding on how to make the most out of your training day when mother nature has been mean to us.

Some last tips!

    • Training in smaller groups or solo with icy road conditions can make it a safer ride for you and the traffic that share our roads.


    • A reduced group size can help increase your training stimulus over a shorter period of time.


    • Use layers as your clothing choice for the day,  this enables you to adapt to conditions as they change through the day and is more breathable.


    • Re-think your normal coffee stop, going from cold conditions to a warm shop and then back into a cold environment can be too many extremes for your body to handle and lower immune function.


    • Always carry substitutional fluid on cold days, your body still sweats and heats up regardless of temperature as your body burns calories to keep warm and perform exercise. Reduced consumption of fluids can dehydrate the body and lead to a substandard training session along with a lowering of immune function


    • Invest in adequate clothing that will help you deal with the elements, purchase of quality kit will save your winter training days. Will bring more benefit than a new set of 'BLING' wheels.

Category: Coaching

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