For most cyclists training over the winter, the January blues is beginning to set in. Motivations wane as long sweet-spot intervals drag into what feels like one never-ending, monotonous ride. While we can’t save you from the perils of your training program, we can at least offer some content to make your rides go by a little faster.
If you always have a million things going in your head at once, and have no trouble focusing on training while watching TV, The Witcher may be a good viewing option for you. The show is full-force fantasy and the action scenes are great for getting pumped up during your ride. Though the dialogue isn’t very complex, names, places, kingdoms and species are thrown around very casually and with the jumping timelines it does require a level of concentration.
Less action packed and more philosophical is Russian Doll. Not a huge amount can be said about this show without giving away the plot line but the cyclical nature of the episodes really lends itself to repetitive intervals and the Groundhog Day feel of winter training.
Cheer is a great show for any athlete to watch. It explores the world of competitive cheerleading, a brutal sport, with major risk of injury. These high-level athletes are insanely fit and this six episode documentary follows the young team as they prepare to defend their title at national championships. The show is surprisingly gritty, showing the reality of the sport but also focusing on the athletes themselves, many who come from rough backgrounds. Seeing how hard they push themselves really gives you a bit of extra gas coming to the end of a long interval.
If you have trouble focusing on tv shows something that can be ignored at points of heavy suffering may do you well. Flobikes has a packed schedule and some solid additional content as well. Watching bike racing, particularly something quick and punchy like a cyclocross race, can help get you stoked for the season to come.
For race analysis, channels like NorCal Cycling do in depth analysis of the types of North American races you might encounter during your road season. Lanterne Rouge does analyses of WorldTour racing and beyond. If you’re planning on watching YouTube for your rides, be sure to cue up some videos before you start so you don’t have to interrupt your workout to choose another (or gamble with the Youtube auto-play algorithm).
If visual stimulation is a bit much for you, or you like to focus on the Zwift environment, try listening to a podcast. There are tons of cycling podcasts out there, our favourite is the Canadian Cycling Magazine podcast.
For the hyper-focused cyclist
If you can’t focus on a TV show or even a podcast when you’re hammering out intervals, your best bet is a good playlist. Something with a steady beat so you don’t end up switching your cadence to match changes. Something with some good dance music is generally inoffensive and won’t distract you much. This particular playlist is also great because it’s updated regularly so it doesn’t get redundant.
If you’re a nostalgic millennial, nothing will get you more hyped than classic punk pop. If you’re not a nostalgic millennial this playlist might motivate you to finish your workout as quickly as possible so you can listen to literally anything else.