Hiplok athlete Katie Kookaburra rides road, gravel and MTB and loves nothing more than a long day in the mountains and the weather doesn’t stop her. Here, she talks about her winter cycling training, goals and tips on keeping riding varied – even during a winter lockdown.
To be honest, I had a good three months of doing zero structured training at the end of last year. I think with lockdown and so many events being cancelled I just wanted a bit of time just to ride when I wanted and not have a plan. I think that’s the same for so many people at the minute. But I started Zwift racing at the end of last year and ouch… that hurt a lot! I think because it had been so long without any structure, I suffered a lot in those races. So decided I needed to get back into a routine. I actually think now having a routine – especially in lockdown – really helps physically as well as mentally. Even if it’s something as simple as doing an hour on the turbo or outdoors on set days each week. So my training at the minute includes two interval sessions, one race, and two steady rides a week. Also, I’m doing two strength and conditioning sessions a week. These are definitely not my favourite thing to do but I know how important these are for injury prevention when I ramp up the kms later this year.
Everything is so uncertain at the moment still, so it’s good to have an idea of the types of events you would like to do and train for them accordingly. Even if the set event doesn’t happen, it’s still good to try and aim for something just to keep motivation there, and who doesn’t like feeling fit and ready for anything. I am really looking forward to doing off-road events, as well as some long-distance mountainous road cycling as that is my all-time favourite thing to do. And bikepacking. Ahhhh bikepacking has really opened up a new way of riding bikes for me. Setting up camp, riding new places, and carrying everything you need on those long summer days is something I am so excited to do again.
MOTIVATION AND KEEPING THINGS VARIED
It’s pretty difficult in winter to mix up a lot of training as the weather is so bad and cold (I’m a wuss when it gets cold) so I tend to stick to Zwift for set training sessions. This is such a great, time-efficient way to build fitness in winter. There are so many different training plans built into Zwift so there is something for everyone, whether you want to increase your FTP or if you’re starting from scratch and just want to build your endurance.
I also host two monthly rides on Zwift that take place the first Tuesday of every month. There’s a women’s social ride at 5pm GMT, and then a paced sub-hour up Alpe du Zwift at 7pm. They appear in the events section of the Zwift Companion app around a week before the event.
I think a mixture of training and social events on the turbo really help mix it up and keep it interesting.
As well as the indoor Zwift sessions, I now go mountain biking. This was something I started last year and it’s perfect for winter as it doesn’t matter if it’s cold or snowy because those chunky tyres can handle anything as opposed to skirting around ice on 25mms.
My motivation also comes from the fact I know these changes aren’t going to last forever and I am so excited when we can ride in groups and travel again. It’s definitely something I won’t take for granted in the future.