Now with winter well underway and the festive period upon us its important to look after yourself and keep the consistency with your training. MBPC Cycling Coach Stuart Auckland has his top tips to staying healthy / avoid getting sick at this time of year.
Winter can be a tricky time to stay healthy with everyone seemingly having a cold or virus. Training can have an impact on your immune system and you don’t want to end up losing training time as a result of getting ill or injured. Here’s a few tips that will help make it through to Spring in tip top condition.
Ramp up your training carefully. If you're starting training for the first time or after an end of season break, it’s important to build up carefully. Too much, too quickly and you can end up easily fatigued. Follow your plan carefully and be patient. There’s no point trying to reach a peak in fitness so far out from the start of the season.
If the weather is bad stay in and hit the turbo. There’s no training benefit from being laid up with flu or a broken collar bone. Set up your indoor training area so it’s quick and easy to train should you need to. If you do train indoors don’t underestimate the impact the cold or heat can have depending on where you have your training set up. Have a heater or fan set up ready so you can warm up the area before the session begins. Then have a fan ready to keep you cool. It needs to be a good quality high velocity fan - you’ll generate a lot of heat in an enclosed environment. Also have a track suit top or similar ready to put on after the session if the ambient temperature is cold. Take off any sweaty t-shirt, jersey or base layer and put the track suit top on. You’ll cool rapidly and this will help minimise any loss of heat and chill from the sweaty clothing.
Eat right and keep well hydrated. This should apply at all times but at this time of year healthy eating habits can drift off a bit and as a result affect your immune system. It’s easy not to drink enough too when the weather is cooler but being well hydrated is vitally important at all times. You may want to consider taking on additional supplements. Everyone is different and whilst a well balanced diet should be enough for most, some find taking a multivitamin, zinc or a pro-biotic drink for example can help.
Wear the right gear when heading out on the bike and plan your route carefully. If you’re going off into the hills to train it maybe colder and wetter so take a spare gilet or jacket. Modern clothing is superb but some old school tips still work well - foil and clingfilm wrapped around your feet before putting on your shoes are great for heat retention and waterproofing your socks. Disposable vinyl mechanic gloves work really well on hands too - they’re wind and waterproof.
Take a day or two off. If you’re feeling a bit off then it’s better to lose a day or two and fully recover than lose a week or more from trying to push through. No one likes to miss a session but a good quality training allows for flexibility and will work around these little set-backs.
Use these points over the coming months and you should be set and ready to smash it up next year!