We’re about halfway through winter here in North America and if you live anywhere as cold as I do, you might be starting to lose motivation in your training. Aside from hibernation, there isn’t a lot of ways to get away from day after day of cold, dark, winter, but hopefully I can help. Here in Calgary we’ve had some pretty damn cold days and I too am counting down the days until I can ride my bike outside again, but until then here are a few tips I use to get through the winter training season.
Probably the opposite thing you would want to be doing when the weather outside is frightful, but getting outside and braving the cold can help with your winter blues. Scraping yourself off the dreadmill and bundling up for a brisk winter run can keep your sanity and keep you out of the loony bin. I like to throw in at least one outdoor run every week and I try and reserve it for an easy recovery run. If you have never ran in the cold before it’s worth noting that you should be a little more careful when out running in the snow, and more importantly, ice. Also, be smart when it comes to the temperature outside. I’m not advising you head out on a run when it’s -30°C, I rarely go out when it’s colder than -10°C out, but a little cold never hurt anyone (a lot of cold, however…).
Train with a group
Easiest way to get over your blues? Share the pain! Training with a good group over the winter can give you accountability in your training and even increase your performance. Although triathlon is seen as a solo sport, training with others really motivates me to work hard and makes training more fun. I always recommend people join a club for the entire year but it becomes more important in the cold, dark, winter months.
Escape the snow
This one is definitely my favourite. Escape the snow by taking a winter break to a warmer climate. This year I escaped to Arizona for a half marathon but that didn’t mean I was on vacation. I took a little over a week off work and headed south for some snow free training and it has completely rejuvenated me. Just being able to get outside and swim/ride/run was enough to level out my sanity. This isn’t the most economical way to deal with winter, but it is by far my favourite. If you can afford to escape for a week I highly recommend you do it.
Suck it up
Alright this one might not seem like the best advice but bear with me. Winter training might seem like an uphill battle most of the time, but it actually can benefit you psychologically. Being able to mentally power through workouts and cross them off one by one keeps you mentally strong for your upcoming race season. I actually enjoy winter training mainly because it’s designed to make you both mentally and physically stronger. Sometimes it’s better to just embrace winter training and try and find the positives in it.
WRITTEN BY eric dokter
Eric is an elite age-group triathlete for the Kronos Triathlon Club and the T1 High Performance Team. Eric is currently training for the 2017 Age Group World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.