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Six Tips to Stay Motivated and Nail Your Winter Training

Training through the winter requires greater mental resilience and your body works harder in adverse conditions, but there are many benefits to being out in the cold. Your heart is pumping harder which means cardiovascular health gets a boost, and so does your immune system, making you more likely to fight off winter colds. Exposure to the cold also activates increased calorie-burning brown fat and being outdoors means absorbing much-needed vitamin D.

But let’s be real, none of that helps with getting out of bed on those cold mornings, so here are six tips to nail your winter training targets. Also, the good news is, from 22 December the days start to get longer!

1 ) Set micro goals

If you’ve signed up for Ford RideLondon, you already have a big goal to aim for - Event Day. However, setting micro goals throughout your training can help you stay motivated. Even when training gets tough and you question why you signed up in the first place.

It can be something you can cross off in an afternoon, such as completing a bike maintenance course to tackle technicals, or a habit such as adding stretching to your bedtime routine to avoid injury. And there’s nothing stopping it being a treat. Sports massage, anyone?

2 ) Mix up your routine

Cyclist at a velodrome


A routine is great for consistency, but it can mean you target the same muscles and occasionally hit a frustrating plateau. Switching up your training can target those underused muscles and give you a fun new challenge.

If you’ve never tried off-road riding, the cyclocross skills session at Herne Hill Velodrome is for you. You don’t need previous experience and bike hire is also available. Find the next session here.


Perhaps you’ve always fancied taking on a velodrome - where better than the London 2012 Olympic track? The Lee Valley VeloPark offers taster sessions for confident riders. You can even combine the velodrome with a spin around the BMX track. You can book onto a session here.

Or, if you’re looking to build your upper body strength, take on the pump track at Colchester Sports Park. You can read more about the track and book here. 

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3) Get kitted out

If this is your first winter riding, there are a few practical things to know to keep your kit in good nick. There's also a handful of game-changing purchases you can make. Check out nine ways to winter-proof your bike here.

4) Find a club for you

Cycle group outdoors


There’s no better motivation than accountability. If you’ve signed up for a group ride you are more likely to head out, even if staying in bed seems really tempting.

There’s a group for everyone and a good starting point is searching the club finder on British Cycling or Cycling UK for ones near you. There are plenty on Instagram and TikTok too.

You can explore new routes and make new friends who can probably answer the most niche cycling questions. If you haven’t cycled in a group yet, it’s also a great way to gain that experience. If you want to improve your technique, most clubs have training sessions.

Most clubs will let you join a ride without becoming a member, so it’s worth trying a couple to see which one is the right fit for you. 


5) Book a skills session

Bike maintenance kit

If you haven’t already, take advantage of the one-to-one and group training sessions. Most are free or heavily subsidised and are not just for beginners. 

From beginner to advanced, Cycle Confident provides free training sessions tailored to suit your ability and goals. You need to work, live or study in the London boroughs listed here to book these sessions here.


Cycle Sisters offer one-to-one and small group training sessions for Muslim women. They deliver Bikeability, the national cycle training programme, which is open to beginners and regular riders in the London boroughs listed here.


If you’re based in Essex there are free cycling courses up for grabs, from beginner to advanced. You can also select a bespoke family course. See what is on offer here.


Wheels for Wellbeing runs inclusive cycling sessions for disabled people of all ages. Read more about their sessions here.

6) Go on a cycling training camp

You’ll need a bit of budget and time off work for this last one, but bypass the grim winter weather and go abroad. There’s a reason pro-riders head to the Mediterranean from December to March. Majorca has long been a cycling pilgrimage of sorts. Altea, Calpe and Denia are also popular.

You can top up your vitamin D with a blast of sunny weather and you won’t have to worry about wet roads covered in leaves, meaning you can ride for longer. Also, much like a club, you’ll meet like-minded cyclists. You’ll also probably inherit a few nuggets of wisdom from your fellow riders along the way.

If you need some inspiration, check out Yellow Jersey’s training camp listings here.

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