Coaching: How to train now to be a better cyclist next year

Posted on: December 10th, 2018

How cyclists can improve at this time of year

Now is a good time of year to reflect on how you’ve always trained and consider if it’s time to make changes to increase your form come spring.


How cyclists can improve at this time of year


By Stephen Gallagher

Rás winner and co-owner of

This is the time of year when riders are shaping the course of their season to come; for better or worse.

You can change the way you’ve always prepared and make a significant breakthrough come the racing or sportive season next spring.

Or you can do what you’ve always done, while expecting better results, only to be left disappointed when the racing starts.

You need to stop and think now about what you’re doing. So many people lose their coach at the end of the season.

They then go searching for another when the racing season is almost upon them, hoping for an overnight miracle to turn them into the rider they imagine they are.

This just doesn’t work for endurance sports like ours.

This approach is very short sighted and leads to a fitness deficit and unattained goals come the racing season.

What you do right now determines what heights you will reach in 2019.

Those who do it correctly and learn from the mistakes of last winter will reach their goals or even far exceed them.

They’ll also increase their enthusiasm.

But those who don’t learn from the past will end up falling short and left wondering why.

The most common mistake at this time of year is to either going too hard or too easy in training. Everyone can relate to this.

Going too easy will never develop any kind of base fitness. But going too hard will suppress the immune system and cause illness which is so common at this time of year.

These are the aspects of early winter preparation that will ruin your season and leave you scratching your head come April, asking why you lost the wheel on that last hill.

If you know this from past experience, don’t let it happen again.

This is the time to start setting goals and start getting your body and mind into the routine of consistent training; developing and building on specific areas that have let you down in the past.

We don’t want to turn into the ‘winter racers’ that are seen on many club runs across the country every weekend.

This is the time to plan, be realistic and enjoy the sport.

When thinking about what you want to achieve next season you should be considering the following, either on your own or preferably with a coach:

  • Goal development for the upcoming season and annual planning
  • Body composition goals
  • Proper nutrition guidance and analysis
  • Regular training analysis
  • Working into your routine elements like cross training, strength & conditioning and gym work.
  • Keeping a healthy immune system that will sustain your training
  • Taking time now while the pressure is off to enjoy your bike
  • Set proper heart rate and wattage zones so your training matters

Don’t get into the rhythm of old… don’t put that weight on… don’t skip early winter goals… don’t fall into missing those cross training sessions.

These are the foundations without which your form will never reach the level it should.

This is the vital time of year; it’s time to think strategically and make a difference.