It’s Cold Outside: 3 Top Winter Training Tips
It can be difficult to find the motivation to train and keep fit in winter: fewer daylight hours, bad weather and lower energy levels (not least due to a lack of vitamin D) can leave you feeling lethargic. With over 15 years in the health and fitness industry our Grace Gym manager Duncan has weathered many a frosty season – and shares his three top tips for winter fitness training below.
SET A GOAL
Identify small personal fitness goals (the best are performance based, for example; complete 1000m on rowing machine in under 5 mins or up my running distance by 2km each month), Write it down, put it in a place that you will always see (fridge, back of bathroom door etc.) and tell friends about it. When you’re feeling particularly unmotivated about training, this method will keep you focused and help you avoid distractions (and excuses!) that may be detrimental to reaching your targets. You can then get excited about telling people about your achievements and by keeping your goals part of the conversation, you’ll continue to feel driven and accountable.
WARM UP INSIDE BEFORE A RUN
When the weather is cold and uninviting you need to get your body and mind ready for the run to come. Activation and mobility circuits will increase blood flow to muscles and joints and by making sure you take the time to warm up properly, you’ll reduce the chance of injury.
Use this warm up time to mentally prepare and focus the mind on the run ahead. Try breaking the distance into short sections to keep motivation levels high – this way each segment feels like an achievement. You will be able to run for longer and temptation to call it a day will diminish. Preparation is key – make sure you where layers (which can easily be removed as you warm up). A hat is also advisable; it can have a huge impact on your overall body temperature.
CREATE A FLEXIBLE PLAN
Winter is a time when you need to approach training plans with flexibility, ready to accommodate alternatives when the weather is adverse, or you are forced to miss a training session as festive celebrations take over. All is not lost! Factor in a little freedom so you don’t find yourself feeling guilty when these instances occur.
Got time? Make the most of the workout, take your time and focus on areas such as strength and endurance. Rather than leaving your goals to chance spend more time training towards them effectively.
Short on time? Look to higher intensity sessions with minimal equipment – there are a number of exercises you could do in your own home, using the time to work on mobility and core strength.