Crikey! Somehow I‘ve managed to keep mountain biking all the way through January!

If you’re wondering how to motivate yourself when the weather is cold and its dark in the evenings, then here is some of the more unconventional inspiration that has kept me rolling. Hope it helps!

Motivation #1 The Labrador Method

Some of us are made like Labradors: we’re motivated by food.

In my opinion dieting is a ludicrous idea in January when it’s cold, dark and wet: there’s little comfort to be had from a bowl of quinoa and a pomegranate salad.

Instead, I look for more indulgent ways to motivate myself to exercise. For instance, my local pub has recently spiced up their post-ride coffee offering with the addition of rum-spiked hot chocolate. The thought of it certainly keeps our legs turning on the hills – we just have to resist the urge to peel off on a short cut straight to the bar.

 

Motivation #2 Something Scary in the Diary

I find that entering an event really fires me up to train so I’ve put The Battle on The Beach in my diary. Thankfully I won’t be requited to ride in a bikini – but that’s about the only way I am getting off lightly. Slogging along for 45km on a loop that takes in a beach, singletrack and forest roads will be a big old work out and I’d determined to enjoy the experience rather than spend the entire time wishing I’d done a bit more training. So keep moving, legs.

 

Motivation #3 The Wardrobe Mistress

I love clothes – but I’m not so keen on trying to find them nor getting dressed, especially as at this time of year as it can almost take longer and be more exhausting than the ride itself! THERE IS SO MUCH TO PUT ON!

For instance, when I rode in the snow recently I wore the following:

Sports bra - Padded pants - Elbow and knee pads - Liner socks - Merino vest - Merino jersey - Full length cycling tights - Mountain bike shorts - Long socks - Jacket - Winter GlovesMerino neckwarmer - ArmwarmersHelmet. Phew.

Anyway the only way to stay sane in these circumstances is to lay your clothes out the night before, then you can nod off peacefully knowing that there will be no ‘door faff’ when you cant find your right hand winter glove – again! - just as you’re about to leave.

Perfect for chilly rides

Motivation #4 Poldark

(stick with me here - I promise we will get to Poldark)

Cold, wet weather and dark evenings are the enemies of training – so thank goodness for indoor cycling classes. I’d usually prefer to be riding outside of course but I do have my limits, especially when temperatures fall: my decision to do an indoor cycling class recently was guided entirely by the fact that the leisure centre would have the heating on (pathetic, I know).

Sadly the last class I went to – a virtual session where you follow a class on a screen - was quite poorly attended ie. I was the only person there. However the pumping music and encouragement of my three on-screen instructors (which seemed a little excessive for an audience of one) did the motivational trick, as did the fact that one of them looked like a particularly sweaty version of Poldark (told you we’d get to him eventually).

Indoor cycling, get on board: In reality most of us don’t have the luxury of choosing an indoor cycling class based on its hip-hop soundtrack and size of the trainer’s pecs. In fact most of us will be corralled into a studio at our local gym, sandwiched between someone who looks as if she’s just ridden in straight off The Etape, and a guy who sweats more than you’ve ever seen anyone sweat before... Read the rest...

 

Motivation #5 The Instaride

I trick myself here by thinking that I’m not actually going for a ride, but rather for a photo opportunity. After all, these days who doesn’t shape their whole existence around getting lots of likes on Instagram? And by the time you find yourself somewhere scenic, you’ve ridden for an hour and a half. Result.

P.S do tag those winter rides #MyVeloV and share them with the VeloVixen community!

 

Motivation #6 A Willing Chum

You know that friend who doesn’t feel the cold, doesn’t notice the ice, has a great waterproof jacket and rides like a demon? Just follow her.

 

Motivation #7 Skills for Thrills

This is the perfect time of year to book a skills session and brush up your hops and drops skills, or concentrate on cornering, root sections or simply your basic position. The new skills will make a huge difference to both your ability and your confidence, and you’ll definitely reap the benefits when the weather gets warmer, the days lengthen, and all-day trail challenges beckon. Can’t wait!

Do you have any other motivational tips to add? Share them in the comments.

Winterproof your top half