As a cyclocross racer, or any bike racer for that matter, if you live in a part of the world that has a true winter, February & March can be tough. The weather is unpredictable. It’s cold, windy and putting on 15 layers of clothes just to get outside for a ride takes nearly 30 minutes. Riding indoors is getting old, too! (at least it used to be for me, but this was before smart trainers and Zwift!). Trust me, I know  how you feel. You’re ready to shed the leg warmers and feel some sunshine in your body.

It’s easy to drift here when Old Man Winter gets challenging to deal with. It will come as no surprise to you when I say when I state that it is important to stay the course and stick to the plan. You’re still building an awesome foundation for the pending season and you don’t want to cut any corners.

For those of you that really haven’t started training yet or don’t even have a plan this is a great time to get started as well. It’s not too late at all to begin an off-season training plan to get you ready for the fall. I don’t know how you feel personally, but it seems to me that there’s a lot of pent up energy for racing and I think there will be a lot of people pinning on a number this fall. Get ready now rather than be chasing from the back of the pack later on!

Here are six cyclocross training tips to focus on in February and March:

Water- Don’t forget to drink water when it’s cold out. You lose a lot of water when you train, even when it’s cold and you don’t feel thirsty.

Food – Your body burns more calories to keep you warm during the winter time, so don’t be afraid to eat a bit more when training outside in the cold.

In the kitchen – Wintertime is also a time when it’s easy to get sucked into eating more comfort food when you’re not training. Remember, huge gains are made by eating clean, fresh and healthy food in the kitchen.

Stretch – Focus on taking care of your body now and it will pay dividends later on. Even if you spend an extra five minutes stretching per day, it can make a world of difference.

Cross train a bit – If you have the opportunity try some other things like cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, running, hiking, swimming, etc. give it a go. Now is the time to mix it up.

Dial in your fit –  Did you know every year you get a year older? Seriously, every year your body changes. You might get stronger in one area and weaker in another, or perhaps you have a lingering injury. It never hurts to get your position on your bike checked out by a professional bike fitter.

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