With some of the heaviest rainfall and worst flooding the UK has ever seen, you’ll be forgiven for being a few miles short of your winter goal at this point in the year. Don’t panic; it’s a long season and there’s still plenty of time to get yourself in shape to reach your objectives. As a basic rule of thumb, it takes about a third of the time to maintain fitness compared to how long it takes to build it, so even if you’ve just been ticking over, dodging cloud bursts, you still won’t be starting from scratch.
Building a good foundation really is the key to consistent fitness so it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s more important to start the season slower and build form gradually than jump the gun and start smashing out intervals in a panic to try and find the fitness you desire. While you may see short-term gains with this approach, in the long-run you’ll be over-stressing your system, which could lead to fatigue, low immunity, and reduced quality of training.
Be realistic with your current level of fitness. If you’re working to a specific goal, like a big sportive for example, then plan your base rides to gradually build towards this in a systematic and well thought out way, remembering not to forget the importance of recovery. If time and budget allows, a good way to kickstart your engine after a period of hibernation is to look at a cycling holiday in warmer climes. Southern Spain, Majorca and the Canary Islands are frequent destinations for the professionals and a hit of vitamin D while exploring new roads can be a real boost to your motivation. Use this extended time on the bike to concentrate on your nutrition, equipment, and technique as the foundation starts to grow.