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Getting a Ride in the New Year

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With the cooler temps, changing seasons, and residual fitness from the glory days of summer; fall and winter can be one of the best times to put some miles in. If you’re not in full cyclocross mode, here are 5 easy workouts you can do to keep the fitness up in the colder months.

Holding down a full time 9-5 (usually 6 or 7), I like to structure my training and fitness around lots of shorter rides throughout the week that together create a base for form and fitness. My commute is 18 miles round trip which takes me about 40 minutes each way. Done 5 days a week, this amounts to 90 miles and 7 hours on the bike. Who would argue with that? Plus with the cooler weather I get to the office awake and refreshed instead of tired and soaked in sweat like during the summer. I usually use these sessions as active recovery and just try to spin easy instead of trying to “cat 6” through traffic. I’m a big fan of the ELEMNT’s Bluetooth pairing with my phone so that I can upload these rides instantly to Strava as soon I’m done.

This is an effort that I like to do on the trainer. I’ll do a 10 minute warm up and then two 30 minute sessions at about 75% FTP with 10 minutes recovery in between. Finish this session with 10 minutes of cool down. This session builds strength and endurance for longer tempo rides.

High Intensity Training. I’ll usually save these types of work out for when I’m gearing up for the season to start in the dead of winter but I’ll also use them to keep sharp during the fall. This hour long session consists of a 10 minute warm up then two sets of 8×1 minute efforts with a 10 minute break in between. These efforts should be hard at about 125%of your FTP (functional threshold power). You don’t want to go too hard however that you’ll burn yourself out before the session is over. Throwing one or two of these sessions into your weekly riding will have you feeling extra sharp.

Laps in one of the two parks in New York City are a big part of any cyclists training regiment. Best if done with a group of team mates or riding buddies since getting out before the sunrise can be brutal by yourself. If somebody is counting on you to be there as well you’ll have a much higher chance of making the ride. Our group meets at 5:55 two times a week for 5 or six laps around Prospect Park. These rides start out social but quickly turn into all out hammer sessions with sprints, pace lines, and efforts up hill to see who is KOM that morning. Training with others like this is great to mix things up and keep work outs from getting stale plus racing your friends allows you to go way deeper than you sometimes can by yourself. Don’t tell my boss but I’ll spend the first 20 minutes of work with my second cup of coffee crunching the numbers from the ride.

WEEKEND ADVENTURE RIDE My favorite thing about riding in the off-season? I can ride for pure enjoyment because I’m not racing every weekend. I’m free to go on longer rides and seek out new roads with friends without feeling any pressure. Plus all the leaves are turning so there is plenty of #leafpeeping to be had.

These are my favorite ways to stay fit, enjoy the cooler temps, and keep the legs turning over during the fall and into the winter. Up next, I’ll outline 5 KICKR Power Trainer workouts for getting into form for those early season races.

About Alex Lightman

Alex Lightman is originally from Portland Oregon. While there he progressed from riding track bikes around the city to racing on the velodrome and the road in 2008. Leaving his beloved west coast behind he moved to Brooklyn in 2011 to attain a masters degree in architecture. Alex now juggles a full time job as an architect with racing on the road for the 5th Floor and spending time with his new wife Kelly.

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