How to stay motivated during off season

You just had an awesome closing weekend at the bike park and the first snow has fallen. You scroll through your social media and see that your mountain biking playground has turned into a ski resort… how will you survive the winter without your bike?

Words by: Helena Werner
Photos by: Philip Lundman (bikes) – Georgina Buchan (dogs)

My name is Helena Werner and work with mental training and stress management, mostly individual coaching how to set healthy goals and how to perform during extreme situations. My background with coaching is within the Swedish police and with various athletes.

With the pandemic still being active, most of us cannot travel to where the trails are still dusty and dry… so how do we live through winter without riding mountain bikes? Maybe this article can provide you with some healthy tools to not only survive but to have a better winter without it being spent on two wheels.

Set new goals to stay motivated.

Realistic and achievable goals are a big part in keeping your focus and motivation. This might be tougher during off season than during season. It is probably not going to be very healthy to spend the entire winter on your bum waiting for trails to dry up or the bike park to open.  So the question is, what can you do today that will make next season great? My answer is, set a goal! Keep it simple and start by asking yourself these questions and answer them in writing:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What do I need to do to get there?
  • When do I want to achieve it?
  • How do I want to feel when I achieve it?
  • When will I start?

For example, here are my answers/goal:

  • I want to get stronger in my upper body and on climbs.
  • I need to get back under the bar and do some lifting, I need to leave my bike in the garage for a while to make more time for the gym.
  • Start of the bike parks opening 2022
  • I´m going to feel strong and proud of myself.
  • Tomorrow at 5:30 I will do a spin class in the garage.

It can be as simple as that… and still these few things can be the goal that keeps you motivated to get up and get it done. A goal does not have to include progressing for the upcoming new season, it can also be taking a complete break and focus on something else. The key to your goal is that is needs to be just that, your goal.

When the alarm sets off at 5 am in the morning I would honestly much rather stay in bed then to sit on a bike that does not move. But I know I will feel proud and strong after the workout.

When you set your goal and describe how to get there, schedule the first step within 48 hours. That´s your best chance of completing it!

Evaluate your previous season.

I know I make it sound easy to set goals, but if it was easy my job wouldn´t exist. So as an addition to the first tip, here are some more questions to help to figure out what kind of goals you want and need!

Ask yourself:

  • What went well? What made you feel good
  • What took you there? (What was helpful)
  • What do I want to do more off next season?
  • What do I need to do less off?

Fall in love with a new hobby.

Before I started mountain biking my summers was a long wait for skiing and winter. As my back got worse I couldn´t go skiing anymore so now I´ve had some winters longing to ride my bike. I stayed motivated with working on my fitness but I still missed the mountains and being outdoors. 

Now I have discovered hunting through our dog and new friends. Luci, our dog, is not only a fantastic trail dog, but also a hunt, point and retrieve kind of dog and the birds she is trained on are not allowed to hunt or work on during bike season (ok, I know it is not called that in hunting-vocabulary but this is an article about mountain biking). 

It´s perfect for a mountain biking-hunter! This new interest keeps me outdoors, actives and keeps my mind off my bike getting dusty in the gatage. So go explore what is out there for you during off season!

Fix your gear!

I am not a big fan of working on my bike, or my gear. But I know how important it is so I treat my partner very well so that he will do it for me! He is English and used to being able to ride all year round, when I asked him how he keeps motivated during his first Scandinavian winters he said “making sure our bikes are the best for next season”.

I´m not going to tell you to get a partner to fix your bike. But get it done! End of the season usually means a lot of sales so if your gear or your bike needs an upgrade, go spend and make a bargain!

Good luck!

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