As the northern hemisphere enters the colder months, many of us will struggle to keep the same training energy and intensity that we feel during the summer period. We’ve put together our top 5 tips for how you can keep that internal flame burning, even when staying in bed seems like the much safer option.
- Keep the routine going. It’s widely agreed that routines play an important role in helping our mental health in check. Feeling a sense of control over our lives is especially important during such an uncertain time, and as it gets colder and darker it becomes increasingly difficult to start a new routine. Embed one early, and make sure it will be achievable long term. There’s no point in setting an alarm for 5am every day if you know you’ll just hit the snooze button every time.
- Prepare for the elements. Gone are the days of running in nothing but shorts and a light t shirt. Make sure you’re prepared with a range of layers to adjust accordingly with the weather. Ideally a good range of clothing would include a long sleeve top, a running gilet, a lightweight jacket, leggings and gloves and hat. Then you can mix and match according to the weather. Make sure you dress for how you will feel in five minutes time. You don’t want to have layered up only to take everything off two miles down the road once you’ve warmed up!
- Incentive yourself. As much as you can try and frame it, sometimes running outside in a howling gale just isn’t fun. Line up a reward for when you return from your run, which will give you something to visualize as you push through the storm. Having a sliced bagel in the toaster ready to pop down as soon as you step in the door can really help give you that extra push.
- Respect recovery time. Little is more appealing than peeling out of wet clothes after a run and jumping into a hot shower. But by doing this you’ve passed by one of the most important stages of a workout; the cool-down recovery period. By not cooling-down you allow lactic acid to stay pooled in the muscles you’ve been working and increase the risk of DOMS, meaning the next day you’re much more likely to feel sore and fatigued. Instead of that immediate shower, put on some warm clothes and spend a bit of time cooling down. Percussive therapy is a great way to recover, it feels great and has been scientifically proven to reduce the effects of DOMS. Purchasing a massage tool like a Flow PRO or MINI will be the greatest gift you can give your body.
- Mix it up! Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same training plan you’ve been following in the warmer months. Use winter as a time to focus on cross training such as weights or spin. A home workout session can be easily achieved with minimal equipment, and the strength that you build will be a great foundation as you gear up into the next race season. Plus it provides you with a valid excuse if you really can’t face heading out into the snow again.
Just because the weather is packing in, doesn’t mean your training has to. Keep on pushing through and #findyourflow.