Riding Around Thanksgiving

Here in the US it is Thanksgiving week.  That typically means getting together with friends and family for a big dinner.  This often comes with travel, family (that can be good or bad right?), extra calories, maybe some time off work, and other changes to your day to day.  If you are used to training 5 or 6 days a week, this change might throw you off.  If you are working on dropping a few pounds like a lot of cyclists seem to be perpetually working on, this time can be really conflicting.  We are here to give you a few tips on getting through Thanksgiving or any holiday time while keeping your fitness intact.




If you are reading this blog and looking for ways to get through Thanksgiving, chances are you aren’t making it to the world tour.  This means you likely have a day job that doesn’t revolve around being as fit as possible so maybe we can take a step back and evaluate how we approach the week altogether.  There are 51 other weeks of the year and I think from a training and diet perspective, late November might be the least impactful time for every discipline outside of cyclocross.  I always try to keep this in mind because the riding I do the other 51 weeks of the year is going to be much more impactful than what happens this week.  Maybe even consider just taking a week off the bike and enjoying some down time with family. 


Taking an off week isn’t what everybody wants to do.  Personally, I love to ride my bike and am generally happier when I do.  A week without touching my bike rarely leads to me feeling refreshed and happy, rather I’m grumpy and guilty.  So if getting on the bike is something you want to do this week, let’s look below at some of the things that might stop you, my favorite ways to get around them, and how to handle your diet this week.


Change in Schedules


If you are lucky enough to get a few days off this week, or maybe even the whole week it gives you a lot more time on your hands.  It may seem that you would have no problem fitting in your typical ride.  One thing I have noticed in the past is that with more time to train, it is much easier to put your training off until later because “I have all day.”  Speaking from experience, “all day” goes by quickly and you get to the end of the day without swinging a leg over the bike.  Making the ride a priority or even scheduling a time to ride always helps me make sure I stick to it. 

 Indoor Trainer

With the weather changing here in Indiana, I do a lot of indoor riding this time of year.  With all the time commitments with family and friends around the holiday, training indoors means I can be more efficient with my time as well.  One of my favorite parts of riding on the trainer is taking part in the Zwift races.  I always find them to make indoor riding significantly more entertaining and challenging.  The best tip I have is to invite a friend to join you in one of these races.  This gives you some accountability and will make me show up ready to ride.


My solution to the I have all day issue is to set my bike up on the trainer the night before.  Fill my bottles, set my shoes next to the bike, get a pair of bibs out, and if I am going to have a little longer ride, even set a snack next to the bike.  Now my excuses are dwindling quickly and I’m probably going to do the ride.  This works great if you are going to ride outside too.  Make sure your bike is ready to go so all you need to do is inflate the tires and ride. 




If you are finding yourself with more time than usual and you don’t have other commitments around the holidays, congratulations you can easily ride your bike more!  On the few rare occasions that I have been in the situation of having all the time in the world to ride my bike for a few days I almost always make the same mistake.  I ride too much.  What I actually do is get really excited that I am going to ride 20 hours this week and do all these intervals to get really fit.  In reality I haven’t trained anywhere close to enough to do that kind of week and I put myself through a suffer fest for a day or two and then have to take some time off to recover.  If you find yourself doing the same thing, maybe think about doing an achievable challenge. 


Something simple like ride every day, do 50% more than your average week, ride an hour before 8am each day, do two rides a day, etc.  If you are on Strava like many of us, they have some great options to join virtual challenges to win prizes.  Pick one of those and just keep active. 






Cyclists as a whole are perpetually worried about weight.  Everybody has the riding buddy that is constantly telling you about their weight, their watts/kg, and their new fasted training plan.  When somebody is working on dropping a few pounds to go faster on their bike, this week is always a big topic.  We have quite a few international readers in the blog, so they might now be aware of what this Thanksgiving feast usually looks like. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie, and then we go back for the second plate. 


When I am planning on doing a bunch of racing in the spring, I am certainly guilty of worrying about how much I was going to eat at Thanksgiving dinner.  It is pretty common advice, but I like to share it as much as I can; go ahead and eat Thanksgiving dinner.  Eat whatever you want.  Get the second or third piece of pie.  If you are generally eating a healthy diet throughout the year, one or two days at the holidays of eating grandma’s home cooking is going to have zero impact on your training or racing. 


Enjoy Thanksgiving


No matter how you decide to enjoy the holiday, take it easy and enjoy a great meal with friends and family.  Riding is a hobby for most of us, so let it be that and your soul crushing interval workouts will be back before you know it.  The last piece all cyclists are looking for this week are the deals!  Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.  If you are like me, you probably spend too much time scouring the internet and your local bike shop for the new thing to improve your bike set up.


We hope you have a great holiday week from everybody here at SILCA and hope to see you at the next Zwift ride!

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