Three killer hacks to win at winter training

Three killer hacks to win at winter training

Winter training is when the best training intentions can all too easily be blown out the water 

While gym rats, crossfitters and the like have it warm and toasty indoors, for us cyclists, runners and triathletes our playground is outside where winter means it's a) freezing, b) dark most of the time, and c) probably raining. None of which are exactly conducive to that early morning run or post-work bike ride you'd so earnestly planned the night before. Use these three ninja tips to laugh at winter and hit spring in full form

Chilly out? Check out our top three winter training hacks below and poke winter in the eye this year

While standard winter training advice is all very well, we're going to assume that as the above average performers you are you're well up to speed on these classics:

  • Get a race in the calendar so the goal motivates your training
  • Buddy up with a training partner so the shared accountability means you both show up even when the weather sucks
  • Hit the gym for that strength work all aerobic athletes need but rarely do
  • These evergreen nuggets are all well and good, but miss the crucial 'X-factor' that raises plain old 'good' to 'bloody awesome'. 

    At 33Fuel we're obsessed with exceptional human performance so what we're always looking for are those uncommon hacks that deliver exponential benefits, the training applications, approaches and tools to turn an ordinary winter into an incredible one. And we take our winter training just as seriously as our nutrition. 

    So if you're ready to knock winter out of the park and sail into spring on a sea of PBs, let's get to it - make your winter training really count with these three gems:

    Winter training hack 1: the 10-minute rule

    This one is a beauty, and is easily worth at least 10 hours a month alone in training as it magically turns sessions that would otherwise have been missed into pure training gold.

    All you have to do to make it work is commit to starting and doing just 10 minutes of your planned training session, making the clear deal with yourself that if you still don't want to do the session for any reason at all after that 10 minutes is up then you can pack up and go home, absolutely guilt-free.

    While the bail out rate for un-started training sessions can be as high as 70%, the bail out rate for sessions you've started is more like 2% and it's this dramatic difference you're leveraging here to smash winter. Basically, once you've fooled your meddling monkey mind into getting out there and getting going, you've magically allowed exercises' own endorphins to take over and your path to success is set.

    Compound the effectiveness of this tip by laying your kit out the night before to remove every last road block to actually getting out of the door.

    Winter training hack 2: Be bold, start cold

    Winter training

    Be bold, start cold - less is more. 33Fuel co-founder Warren makes the most of the snow during a recent US mountain session

    This tip comes courtesy of the Royal Marines and is the best ever motto for winning at winter training because when it's cold the temptation is to go kit-crazy and layer up like an eskimo, which is the worst possible idea.

    While it works a treat for the first few minutes as you cruise through the surrounding freeze with a warm grin on your face, everything goes pear-shaped after that as you overheat like a jacket potato and start to cook from the inside out while having a terrible time and underperforming for the simple reason that anything more will make you pass out.

    Instead, go light on the layers and accept you're going to be a bit chilly for the first 10 minutes. After that, you'll be nicely warmed up and free and easy to pile on the power without overheating while also benefiting from winter's natural training boost as the colder, denser outside air feeds more oxygen to your body more quickly. 

    Winter training hack 3: ride Zwift

    If you haven't tried Zwift yet, now is the time. This one app magically turns the outright tedium of indoors turbo training into an interactive, entertaining piece of challenging, addictive sweaty brilliance. 

    In short, Zwift connects your cyclist avatar inside the game world of Zwift to respond exactly to your efforts on the turbo - you pedal harder, your avatar goes faster. Similarly, as the road goes up/down in the game world, so your trainer will increase/decrease resistance automatically. 

    Add sprint sections, multiple routes, live leader boards, free to enter races at any time of day or night, 1000s of riders worldwide, and a vast array of training sessions you run within the game while riding any route you like and Zwift is the key to massive winter speed and fitness without ever needing to leave your shed. 

    Oh, it also uploads directly to Strava for all you Strava-geeks out there. 

    winter training zwift

    Zwift - geeky online fun has never looked so good

    All you need is a bike and a smart turbo trainer that measures power output and has a bluetooth connection. Trainers like this used to be prohibitively pricey costing £1000-plus, but thanks to onward march of technology you can now pick one up for under £300. 

    After that just sign up for a Zwift membership which is £8/month after the free trial runs out and which can be cancelled anytime. 

    Bonus winter training hack: reward yourself

    If you want to do more of anything, you have to make it enjoyable by reinforcing the behaviour with pleasurable rewards. The undeniably smug feeling of knowing you've smashed out a great session while everyone else cowered under their duvets is a reward in itself, as is the happy exhaustion of a job well done but when you want to take your rewards right to the limit, try our 33Fuel Pre and Post Workout Shakes. These are pure elite level performance and recovery in one mighty and delicious hit. Your body and your performance deserve the best after all.

    winter training 33shake pre and post workout

    When you and your performance need the best, reach for our Pre and Post Workout Shakes 


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