Cycling Knowledge Base

Training for cycling in winter conditions

Cold, snow and wet – do I really have to train outside to rescue my form through the winter? How long should typical winter workouts take? Winter survival strategies from 2PEAK.

They say that champions are made in winter. More to the point: In winter the chaff is separated from the grain; champions remain on the ball, the rest of us sit by the fireside. It is pretty clear, that sportsmen, who continue to train in a disciplined way, are more able to dig into their reserves than those, who take it easy for a month or two and then put everything into a big effort to catch up.

We all remember the eternal efforts in pursuit of fitness carried out by talented Jan Ullrich. These were considerable but came mostly a bit too late. Continuous training throughout the year is better, provided that the necessary recovery is built in and the training is based on the main competition(s) – both of which are the case with 2PEAK training, for sportsmen at all levels.

Champions League

Professionals often have the advantage of being able to choose their training location. Often they fly south for the basic endurance work. Hobby sportsmen/women hardly have this freedom, but they can help themselves in other ways. Whoever wants to follow the champions, braves the weather but makes compromises in the sport discipline. Road training can be carried out with the right clothing at temperatures from zero to minus 5°c but not for longer periods. At lower temperatures it gets critical.

By using the mountain bike off-road, the bearable temperature range expands, because you are slower and the cooling effect of the slipstream is reduced. With suitable shoes you can also walk and stimulate blood circulation in the feet. Whoever defies wind and weather and lives according to season, will be better adjusted to local conditions, than those who breeze off to the south and catch a dreadful cold as soon as they are back in the north.

When even mountain biking won’t work, you can cross-country ski or train on foot. Jogging for longer periods requires some technical adaptation due to the impact at each foot landing but anyone can ramble – and walking uphill you can reach quite a level of intensity. Trail running has its points too. Experience shows that cyclists are better at running uphill, than on the flat, because the strength in the uphill effort is more similar to cycling. Downhill you should then take it really easy. If there is too much snow you can use snow shoes. (These activities unrelated to the main sport can be documented as General Athletics; optional multi-sport packages and upgrades allow a finer differentiation).

So to absolve long workouts in winter is especially a matter of will power and flexibility. Having a change from your main sport discipline is a plus, because it breaks the monotony and gives new training impulses.

2PEAK training schedules are compatible with a selection of aerobic sport disciplines and permit precise evaluation of the effort, including strength training. The duration is adaptable to the individual – his wishes, preferences and experience. There is no ONE plan which fits all. 2PEAK makes schedules which adapt themselves to the athlete rather than the other way round.

The 2PEAK strategy for those who want the optimum and are prepared to invest the time required:

  • Maintain your average weekly training hours (10hrs plus for experienced athletes)
  • Make two long (>3hr) aerobic workouts per week outside.

Smart Timesaver

Long, extensive workouts are especially good for basic endurance. Whoever wants a solid basis can’t do without this. But not everyone has the time to do this. It isn’t everybody who has a deficit in basic endurance either. People lacking strength, power or speed can work at this with shorter and more specific training – in winter too.

Indoor Cycling

A possibility for racing cyclists is specific roller training which can stand alone or be in addition to training outside. Combined training can also make sense. For instance, you can jog for an hour and then ride a couple of specific intervals on the roller. That you can do in any weather. 2PEAK schedules are flexible and can include any type of effort in the calculation. An outdoor schedule can be changed in an instant to roller training if the weather or time constraints demand. Duration and intensity will be automatically adapted.

The 2PEAK strategy for clever timesavers

  • Set your weekly total to 6 hours during winter
  • Plan roller training
  • Concentrate especially on the quality of the training performed.
  • Plan at least one session of >2 hrs per week

Lovers of the indoors

Do you hate the cold and don’t like training alone? Plan some spinning sessions and strength training in a fitness studio. 2PEAK won’t leave you alone here either. Our recommendation is, however, to profit from these many varied training methods and go out of doors from time to time. Even if it is to chop wood for the fire, or shovel snow. You can log an hour of general athletics in your schedule afterwards.


No matter how you train in winter, anything is better than doing nothing. But with a planned structure you are on a better route to success than performing sporadic sport. From what we have seen, sportsmen/women profit most, when they differentiate clearly between their training zones and absolve long slow workouts as well as sessions with specific intervals. With reference to your aims, 2PEAK will tailor the necessary intensity.

Tips for the cold

  • Use clothing wind-cheating panels – at least in the front (legs too)
  • Keep your head and hands warm – then the rest of your body won’t freeze so much
  • Double-layer gloves
  • Spacious winter shoes or thick overshoes and/or shoe heating
  • Avoid maximum efforts
  • Below 0°c and at higher speeds wear a face mask
  • When training over 2 hours eat something on route – the cold uses extra energy


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