For many cyclists, winter is the least wonderful time of the year to ride. A mixture of sick kids, holiday commitments, and fewer daylight hours often conspire to ruin the best-laid training plans.

In 15 years of working with cyclists, I’ve observed one primary difference between people who make progress during the winter and those who end up falling off the bandwagon: that primary difference is mindset.

All or Nothing

Cyclists who adopt an all-or-nothing mindset set themselves up for failure when weather, life, or health challenges inevitably get in the way of training.

All-or-nothing cyclists mistakenly view the contents of a workout as the most critical component of their training. They hold the view that if the contents of a workout can’t be executed as planned, the workout has no value and might as well be skipped.

This mindset leads to predictable results: missed rides, blank weeks, and spotty months of training.

The Scaled Approach

The antidote to “all-or-nothing” thinking is a “scaled” approach.

The “scaled approach” prioritizes the habit of training over the programming details of any one workout. Said another way, training habits are more valuable than training details.

The scaled approach to training assumes that workout instructions are written for “best-case” training conditions. If training conditions are less than ideal, the workout target is scaled to preserve the habit of training.

Let’s walk through a cycling and strength training workout to see precisely how you might scale a workout to meet the shifting demands of your schedule.

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