Charlie Tanfield: How I stay focused during winter

While some cyclists might choose to take things easier over the darker and colder months, that’s not an option for the very best of the best.

Former world, Commonwealth and British champion Charlie Tanfield has a busy winter schedule lined up. The road and track cyclist relies on power and endurance to achieve his goals and told us how he plans to keep his focus in the coming months.

Q. Off-season is about building a base for the next season ahead. What sessions can you expect to do during the ‘off-season’? Longer endurance with some strength/torque intervals?

A. For me this winter I hope to build up my fitness again after catching covid. I’ll be trying to get as much time in riding around in my endurance zone. In addition to this, I’ll be including some gym work and some shorter more explosive efforts on the bike

Q. It’s important to keep focus and prepare for races in a few months’ time but how do you stay motivated during the bad weather and darker nights?

A. For me it’s about keeping my training fun, that way it’s much more manageable. Meeting up with friends or just exploring new areas help.

Q. Do you have items of kit or clothing that are an absolute necessity for training during the winter?

A. Definitely, front and rear mudguards for my bike! For me, a wind and waterproof jacket, wind and waterproof tights, then a solid set of overshoes and gloves does the trick.

Q. How do you use your InfoCrank to maintain and track your fitness whilst you’re not racing? Do you focus on heart rate?

A. I use a combination of heart rate and power. You can get a much better picture of what state you’re in using a combination of the two. if my heart rate is elevated while I’m riding at a given low-intensity power then I know I’m under high fatigue. Also, I like to drop in some key sessions over the winter so I can track my peak power performances, I can see how I’m developing that way and the InfoCrank tracks that data for me in such a reliable way.

DSC 4167 scaled Power Meter

Q. There’s lots of indoor training to be done when the weather is miserable outside. Is power measurement more important to indoor training and racing?

A. I’d say it’s equally important for me. Zwift is great if the weather is too icy or if there is snow outside.

Q. Lots of cyclists tend to escape to warm weather training camps during the winter months. Do you have a favourite place for winter training?

A. I love Tenerife for the early part of winter later I usually go to Calpe on the Spanish mainland. Both are great training locations with reliable weather.

Q. Fuelling longer endurance rides during the winter is even more important. Do you use your power meter to track calorie expenditure, and do you have a favourite on bike go-to snack to refuel mid ride?

A. I make sure to keep myself well fuelled with carbs. I use my power meter to track my calorie expenditure after the ride to see how much I need to eat throughout the rest of the day. For on the bike, my go to is a flapjack or something basic like a Nutella sandwich, eating solid food like this makes me feel better on the bike and is carb rich.

Q. Why do you train with the InfoCrank power meter?

A. The InfoCrank power meter is very robust, I’ve used them for years now and they have always given me reliable power data which is vital for my training.

AW8 1182 Power Meter
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