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6 Key elements of Winter Training

How are you going to improve your performances next racing season? Here are some 6 key corner stones for your successful winter training. 




Muhammad Ali said “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights”. 

Every sport is different but all are the same. Competitions are won during the off-season; when you try to improve technique, do the long hard miles and embed good practises. 


1. Consistency

What do you want on race? You want the certainty of your performance. This will come through establishing what you want from every session and having reviewed the outcome, establishing whether you have achieved your goals. 

At the start of the off-season period you would be drawing up a training schedule based on your time commitments. This is you plan that you have agreed with yourself. Ensure that you complete all your planned sessions as every session is a step forward to your racing season. If you set yourself a target of training 5 days a week, ensure that you distribute your output across all 5 days. Over doing it one day and not then being able to go out the next is not a way to complete your whole plan. 


2. Structured Training

There is balance between “long sessions” and “short sessions” and this all comes down to your own scheduling. Understand what your time restraints are and work your sessions around them by being honest. If you only have 1hour free on a Tuesday night, then do not plan a low intensity 3hour session. Ramp up the intensity, do your 1hour with purpose and structure. No distractions. 


3. Honesty

Being honest with yourself is a hard part of life. You don’t want to be telling yourself that you are not very good at something. But, in all my years coaching athletes, it is the Elite athletes who take this on board the most. They are prepared to look in the mirror and say “that bit is c**p and I need to sort it out”. 

Owning up to these weak areas is the first half of the battle. Rely on your performance numbers, consult with friends and other athletes. Once you’ve established the areas to really focus on, make your plan for improvements. This will not happen over-night, it will be a rocky road and many missteps along the way. But plan small improvements, be patient. 







4. Recovery & Rest

One of the best work out sessions will be your “Rest” sessions. Allowing the muscles to repair, getting stronger when they do, taking stress out of the training schedule, giving your body time to refuel and your mind time to refocus. You can classify a recovery session within your own sporting discipline or try another sport completely (a cross-training session).  

With the increase of winter miles, more time in the gym working on building strength will all lead to tighter body components which could mean injuries. Each injury means lost training time. To counter this, more time needs to be spent on your stretching. Build time into your training plan. Stretching can be done any time during the day, you don’t necessarily have to do more before and after your work out. Just spread the load during the week. 


5. Go with the flow

If the sun pops out for you, bin the turbo session/tread mill, get on the road and top up on some free Vitamin D


6. Mental Preparation

Long sessions are heard to start and sometimes harder to complete. But you can tag something extra on to these sessions; a winning formula. Visualisation. Imagine yourself competing, overtaking your fiercest rival, crossing the finish line first, helping your team mates to success. 

Putting all these things into play during the hard, cold, wet months will make you a stronger athlete and better prepared for your best season ever.


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