No Winter Excuses --Part 2
So, you finished the end of the season in style and decided to take a well-deserved break from training by hitting the snooze button and pulling the Doona higher but is the best decision?
We understand that you are tired of juggling training sessions with work and family, but winter training is a fantastic opportunity to:
Rid the body of the built up lactic acid from that hard season or 70.3 race. Maintaining your exercise at less intensity will assist with recovery.
Maintain your fitness levels all 12 months of the year and keeping in tone for when you are ready to resume competition training.
Beat the wintry weather blues through exposure to vitamin D and of course the social aspect of group training.
Work on your mental training. You will have one up on your mates showing that you are one TOUGH dude not to be reckoned with!
Provide ongoing protection against heart disease as your body naturally must work harder in colder conditions which will boost the cardiovascular system.
Fight off winter weight gain and still get to eat lots of ‘comfort’ foods even if not training as hard due to the calorie burn to keep warm.
Boost your immunity to fight off the dreaded cold and flu bugs. A study by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research discovered that regular outdoors exercise in the cold reduced the risk of flu susceptibility by 20-30%.
Build a tolerance to temperature through maintaining a training routine. Having to start again in spring can be physically and mentally taxing.
Work on the discipline that you are weak at whether it be swimming, cycling or running.
Increase your strength training to provide a powerful base ready for competitive training thus decreasing the chance of injury.
Have fun and try related activities such as trail running, mountain biking, fun runs, charity rides or hit the group classes such as TRX classes, yoga, body balance so forth.
Without saying, all these activities should be punctuated by multiple stops for coffee and conversation!
How to achieve Winter Training
It is terrific that you have made the decision to get out and there and train. To help motivate you and find similar paced training partners (from speedy to snail pace,) EFS has set up a cycling training forum using WhatsApp. Likewise, the running group uses Viber to notify the various start times for Sunday long runs ensuring we all arrive back at the coffee shop for the 8.00am latte. Contact the club secretary to be added to either forum.
Fortunately, we already have access to an indoor pool
And this provides us with protection from the elements. If you are still keen for an ocean swim, try a run/ swim combination to warm the body first. We have some die-hards still dipping their toes in the ocean during the winter months.
If you are not training for anything and your goal is to maintain basic fitness the sessions maybe shorter until you start your seasonal build phase in September – October. This can be very appealing compared to the long hours spent on the bike or on the road leading up to an important race.
Dust off the turbo trainer or roller and crank up the music. There are heaps of on-line sessions and simulated courses for you to ride but the key to a good indoor session is it works in with your fitness goals. A mix of lactic threshold, recovery and strength components within the session will ensure time passes very quickly! Don’t overdo it with a 100% VO2 Max session or under do it with a 100% slow grind watching the Saturday football.
Get a good set of lights - front, rear and side blinkers. It is important not only to see where you are riding but be seen by other cars and cyclists. Riding in the dark or poor weather reduces visibility.
Warm clothes – thermal cycling jacket, long pants, head bands, full finger gloves, bootie covers, wool socks etc. Lots of layers and pockets as you gradually discard works well.
Risks associated with training in the rain must be factored in and include falls from puncture, poor visibility and hitting debris and being hit by cars and animals.
Running is less problematic as the roads are less dangerous and you don’t have to come home to wash down the bike.
As for cycling you need suitable lights and warm cloths.
The treadmill is an option and should be used with a session that supports your fitness goals and include interval strength and speed components. Remember that the local gym’s treadmill may not be calibrated properly and does not encourage the push-off action that you experience with outdoor running.
Warming up appropriately will prevent muscle tears and minimise aching joints and muscles.
As for cycling poor visibility resulting in trips will be your biggest hazard. Adapting your stride and foot placement will assist.