It's always difficult to maintain fitness and performance over the Christmas holidays. There's too much good food and drink around and sometimes it's just such a hassle to go out on the bike.
Our top tips to help maintain your performance will help keep you fresh and limit the impact of the festive period ready to begin training properly again in January. They will also help you to keep from gaining too much weight from all of the Quality Street you will eat (it's alright, everyone does it).
1. Turbo Turkey
If you don't already have one, invest in a turbo trainer. A turbo makes it so much easier to get on the bike indoors, meaning you don't have to get all wrapped up and go out in the cold.
Turbo trainers are great workout tools as you can get a lot out of short sessions on them. It's often mooted in the cycling community that 30 minutes on the turbo roughly equates to an hour of road riding, mainly because there are no downhill sections to recover on and you have to work ofr the duration.
Static training will also allow you to watch films or play video games whilst spinning your legs - great for maintaining fitness levels and staving off the dreaded Christmas paunch.
2. Little and often
With all the family and friends around it can be hard to find the time for a long ride over the Christmas period, which can sometimes mean you forget riding altogether.
It's much easier to find 30-45 minute time slots where you can do a quick lap or the local park or a short turbo stint. Finding time to do this every other day shouldn't be too difficult and will help keep you motivated and fit even if you're not going full gas every time.
To make it more interesting use Strava or a route builder to find a local ride loop that can be done in that time, then you have extra motivation to beat your time on the lap.
3. Gadgets from Santa
If you're like us, you will have asked for cycling stuff for Christmas. Be it gadgets or kit, having new stuff to try out is the ultimate motivator to get out on the bike.
This has the added bonus of gift giver satisfaction when they see your eagerness to use their gift and gives you the perfect reason to ride. The fact that you need to go on several more rides to calibrate the gadgets/break the kit in may not wash as an excuse for too long though...
4. Commit to friends
If you have family and friends that are into cycling then commit to a date before Christmas begins to ride your bikes over the holidays. If you are part of a club you will find that many of them do Christmas club rides between Christmas and New Year, but making personal arrangements is another excellent way to guarantee you get a good ride and keep your integrity.
You could even make it a Christmas tradition on the same day every year so every Christmas you have a guaranteed group ride with family and friends - whether you make it a race or a casual chat. This also gives you an opportunity to show off your fancy new Castelli clothing or shiney new gadgets.
5. Everything in moderation
Contrary to how people usually operate at Christmas (eat ALL the food!) it's a good idea to exercise some self-restraint over the Christmas period.
Not drinking as much or over-eating will mean you feel less lethargic and more likely to get on the bike - there's nothing worse than trying to cycle hungover and stuffed from the day's excesses. This will keep you sharp, stop you from putting on as much weight and mean you can hit January's training schedule without extra weight or lethargy associated with too much food and drink.