Living in England one thing you can guarantee is that for at least three months of the year trying to be an athlete is an experience you wouldn’t wish upon many. Cold feet, burning feeling in the shower and most cyclists unwilling to even look at their bike let alone saddle up and ride.
Now I would love to tell you about a cheap travel package I’ve found to Club La Santa so those thoughts of cycling in the sunshine don’t seem quite so distant but unfortunately all I can offer are some winter training tips that can help combat the cold English weather.
So here is my five tips for winter training:
I am most definitely a fair weather cyclist, during the winter months my noble steed is at best ridden on a turbo trainer in front of Netflix however wearing the right clothes can have a huge impact on comfort and warmth.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” (Sir Ranulph Fiennes)
Have a good selection of winter clothing, especially when cycling. Your feet and hands will take the brunt of most of the weather so booties, gloves and a coffee stop are a must! There is nothing worse than being on the bike with cold feet and numb fingers.
When running it’s really easy to leave the house looking like the Michelin Man (other brands of tyres are available!). However, once you get going you will warm up and easily overheat. Arm warmers and gloves are a great asset as you can take them off during the session if you get a bit too hot.
Join a club
A club is a great way to ensure you go along to training sessions and keep motivated over the winter months. Peer pressure in this case is a good thing, receiving a text to ask if you’re coming along to training can be just what’s needed to help get you out of the warmth of the house and get in those winter miles.
Most clubs will run weekly indoor sessions such as group spinning and swim sessions which provides a great opportunity to build up base fitness levels and work on technique. Or if there are no local Tri clubs, joining a running club will also greatly benefit your rub performance.
Utilise the commute
The dark nights and cold weather can make the thought of a long ride or run somewhat daunting. Commuting provides a good way to fit in training, save money and avoid the traffic which is always worse during the winter months. Challenges can arise if there is no shower in the office but even if a commute home once or twice a week can be built into your weekly plan the miles will soon build up and it’s a great way to burn off all those extra Christmas calories!
Take up a new sport
Cycling and running aren’t always the most appetising prospects in winter months and the off season is a great time to try out something new. If team sports take your fancy; football, rugby, netball and hockey are great ways to keep fit, meet new people and maintain fitness levels for the return of the triathlon season. Sometimes taking up a sport other than swim, bike, run allows the body a chance to recover from the intensity of training and also can take the pressure off training with a race in mind. Spending a few more hours in the gym over winter to build strength and work on weaknesses will provide great benefits come summer as will not only help with strength and speed but will also play a big role in preventing injuries. If you still want to run, trail or cross country racing thrives during winter, and is great fun and a good excuse to get muddy.
Start races early
Before the lakes warm up and the race season begins, entering a running event can be a great way to get back into the swing of racing and offers a good benchmark as to how winter training is progressing. February and March are packed full of 10km and half marathons. Duathlons are also a fantastic way to get back into the swing of a multi-sport event and are a good way to test the legs after jumping off the bike. Besides who likes swimming anyway?!
Good luck with the winter training – stay warm!