Let me set the scene – it’s 7.30 in the morning and it’s still pitch black outside. The rain is alternating between pelting down and a depressing drizzle. You can see each and every breath in front of you when you open the front door and you can’t stop crying nor can you stop the snot running down your face from the cold air. It really must be the season that I find the most depressing and challenging – winter.
If you are anything like me pulling the doona back and training is the last thing from your mind at this time of year, lets be honest even getting gout of bed in the morning is challenge enough.
Here are some of my favourite ways, observations and things I find humorous to make sure I do get my training done during my least favourite season of the year. You may find they work for you at different times through the year as well.
- Be Accountable/Find Your Why – This is a huge one for me. I find it hard with my training to stay motivated when I am only responsible to myself. After trial and error I have discovered that for me the best way is to have an awesome coach and a super awesome run buddy. For you it might be as simple as logging your sessions. Find a way that works for you to be accountable for your training. This was a game changer for me. If you need help being accountable or need someone to be accountable too please feel free to reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.
- Be Adaptable – If you knew me 8 years ago you would say this was the pot calling the kettle black. It is amazing how much more adaptable I have become because of my training through all aspects of my life. This could be checking the weather forecast and changing the time of day you head out to the most least pleasant weather. Or adapting your routine to fit it in before work instead of after. A mantra you might find helpful to repeat to yourself is “Not all change is bad! I am simply being adaptable and achieving my goals!”
- Wear the right gear – You have heard me say this before – you wouldn’t really want to run a marathon in a pair of stilettos and heading out in winter in only summer run clothing is not too dissimilar in that it isn’t the right gear for the conditions. Layers in this case will be your friend as will a top-quality waterproof jacket. Gloves are my best friend in winter I find I can run in a singlet, shorts and gloves and be very comfortable. Keep in mind it is dark early and quick during this time of year, so carrying a headlamp and wearing reflective clothing or accessories is also an excellent idea.
- Keep Moving – Remember, as per Newton’s first law, a mass in motion maintains the same motion unless acted on by a force. I really believe that it applies here as well. If you stop the habit of being active and training, it takes so much more mental and physical effort and energy to start again. If you keep ticking over – even if you have adapted to the situation and changed the type of training – it is much easier to keep going.
- Hot Drink & Shower After – Literally, my favourite way to warm up after a crappy super cold session outside is to get dry, Have a hot drink or something warm/hot to eat – or hey even both – and a nice warm shower. Remember, you don’t want a HOT shower straight away if you are freezing, as that HURTS!
- Skin is Waterproof – Yeah, so everyone states anyway. Seriously though, you can only get wet once, and as long as you are not at risk of hypothermia, or any other medical issue, you should be ok as your skin will protect you from the rain. A good waterproof jacket and a hat to keep the water out of your eyes won’t go astray either. Remember, you can really only get wet once.
- Jump in Puddles – Get in touch with that little kid inside and jump in the darn puddles. I challenge you to see how high you can splash the puddle water! I challenge you not to grin from ear to ear as you do it. I am not saying do it at the start of a 4 hour run use your common sense, but don’t be afraid of it either.
- Rest Matters – More than ever, during winter, rest matters. You are asking more from your body and can easily damage muscles and soft tissues if you go too hard too soon in your session if your body isn’t adequately warmed up. This means ensuring you are getting enough rest and recovery time should be prioritised to prevent serious injury.
- Chafing Sucks – That scream in the shower when the water hits your chafe is never fun. I am prone to comfort eating in winter – which means my weight often goes up a bit in winter – lets’s not talk about this year exactly cause it hasn’t been a good year – but I digress – with the increase in size and the upping of layers during training to keep out the weather chafing can occur so always remember to apply your anti-chafe thoroughly to prevent the screaming in the shower afterwards.
- Don’t be Afraid of the Inside – treadmill, wind trainer, indoor rower, gym – get the idea? Maybe we need to start a must-watch list for those indoor training sessions to help the time pass quickly! If it really is just horrible out there it is so much better to get the session done one way or another so don’t ever be afraid to head inside to tick off the session.
My two biggest takeaways – be adaptable and keep moving!