Motivation. It’s almost self-generating during long, mid-summer days. Wake up to Vitamin D flowing right in the bedroom window, a fresh cycling kit waiting for you on the dresser, and the sight of the training rides is almost ambrosial. We’re set…we’re connected pushing towards our goals. But motivation gets whacky when things get cold and grey, or when work gets busy. And to be fair, no kit is perfect enough to make up for slips in cycling motivation during the winter.
So how do we maintain fitness goals through the winter and see progress towards next season?
A big part of that answer is smart trainers and online training platforms, for three main reasons – they promote connection, provide avenues for competition, and give you tons of data to objectively mark improvement. And not leaving out the biggie, warmth.
We, humans, are social creatures who, in general, are happier (and more motivated) when we feel a sense of connection and belonging within a community. It’s why we gravitate towards groups that share similar interests, are more likely to kit up and get outside if we have plans to ride with someone, and enjoy the simple pleasures of shared experiences.
When plugged into the social environment provided in online group rides, like Zwift Academy, you are still immersed in your culture of bikes. Everyone on there has a fitness goal, a distance goal, a PR goal, and loves riding their bikes. With the coaching offered as well, you’ll be motivated and pushed through the HIIT bouts and long-tempo crawls with everyone else. The only thing missing is the group’s pastry at the end!
If straight-forward get it in gear competition is your primary goal, KICKR’s platform engages with 3rd party apps that other racers utilize. Turn the fan to high, and crank those pedals! Get direct competition stats or train on your exact target course. Live the events before you have to be there in real life (“IRL” for the cool kids). Integration with FulGaz’s real-live ride video is a perfect example of this. Event and race preparation and insight into how you may perform once in the actual event. This provides excellent event preparation and allows the rider to more accurately practice race-tactics. It’s also wonderful for teams to coordinate an attack, counter-attack strategies, and enact a perfectly timed lead-out to the line. Additionally, power-zone training systems, such as the Four-Dimensional Power profile offered by the SYSTM Training App work seamlessly with the KICKR. Train specifically to your own target watts, whether it’s FTP, sprint, or short climb power. Even if you have a coach that will provide feedback later on, instantly reviewing your own data after each ride is highly motivating! Know instantly that you hit your target watts and that the long indoor winter sessions are leading you to those spring and summer performance goals.
Peel back the KICKR’s sport-tuned shell a little, and you’ll get to its basic operational level. Electronic resistance delivered when you want it, as you want it, and as real as your aversion to having to ride the rain just after cleaning your fancy carbon wheelset. KICKR interacts with 3rd party virtual riding and training apps to give you targeted and realistic resistance and topographical-based power demands. Knowing you are training to the terrain or intervals you are striving to master is highly motivational. Everything else is accounted for. You are the only variable that is the unknown, which is helpful to know even if you want something else to blame!
Data is also seamlessly populated to your favorite training metrics platforms, such as Training Peaks or Strava. Fitness gains or losses won’t be random. When your coach prescribes the next workout, it will be based on what you actually need.
Earth has seasons, but your motivation doesn’t have to. The KICKR provides a seamless, realistic, and hassle-free portal to maintain motivation on those days when you don’t want to leave the house, battle the elements, or really don’t have time to prep for an outside ride. Or if just the sight of leaves rustling gives you the chills.
Lindsay Wetzel Polin is a sport psychology consultant and health education specialist with almost two decades of cyclocross and road racing experience. Her coaching philosophy utilizes a holistic approach to manage the mental and physical demands of life and sport to achieve success. You can find her on Instagram at @sprintinkitten.