In our last blog post, we listed seven benefits you can derive from winter workouts, ranging from a cardiovascular workout to increased mental toughness. Sometimes, just knowing about the benefits is enough to get out the door in February. Other times, you need an extra push.
That is what this week’s blog post covers: the extra push. For advice on getting motivated, we reached out to some of our retailers in the endurance community, who generously shared their tips on cold weather meals and training techniques.
Thanks to our retailers! If you like what you see, do us a favor and give the stores a shoutout on social media:
- The Fitness Pursuit, Grayslake, IL
- Vertical Runner, Hudson, OH
- Sayville Running Company, Sayville, NY
- Bozeman Running Company, Bozeman, MT
Here’s how to enjoy your winter workouts:
Revel in the escape from summer heat:
Working out in the winter is tough, but summer weather can be even more challenging.
As Ironman Champion and U.S. Olympian triathlete Joanna Zeiger Ph.D. points out, higher temperatures typically mean slower running times. “Warm weather increases the risk for hyperthermia and dehydration with an impact on the cardiovascular, muscular and central nervous system,” Zeiger writes. “The slowing of pace observed in warmer weather amounts to self-preservation; in order to prevent serious heat related incidents, slowing occurs, both consciously and subconsciously.”
While you are still prone to dehydration during exercise in cold weather, your pace will not suffer as much as in the heat and humidity. So take heart as you head out in sub-freezing temperatures, and enjoy the crisp air while it lasts.
“[The best part about winter training is that] you never know what you are going to get with weather. It can be in the single digits, deep snow, or feel like spring!” – Vince, of Vertical Runner
“Training in the heat can be very difficult. Once your body overheats your performance will suffer and there’s not much you can do about it. In the winter, you never have to worry about that.” – Brendan, of Sayville Running Company
“Running outside [in winter] is great as there is so much less heat and sun stress. I feel I can really get some miles in that help as the weather heats up.” Matt, of The Fitness Pursuit
Take pride in the challenge:
Instead of viewing your workout with dread, view it as a chance to relish in hard work. Take pride in your efforts – and the fact that you will be able to enjoy a mug (or two) of hot cocoa once you are done.
The payoff involves more than just bragging rights. As neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki writes in Quartz, exercise has a plethora of long-term benefits, such as improved cognitive function and reduced stress. Also, the mental toughness achieved through tough workouts will pay off later in the year when you have to push through the pain of the final miles in your summer race.
“[An underestimated benefit of cold-weather training is] the motivation and mental toughness from getting outside regardless of the weather. Training through winter makes the rest of the year a walk (or run) in the park!” Vince, of Vertical Runner
“Winter training is challenging, but highly rewarding. Winter is a good time to strengthen weaknesses and correct imbalances that may have manifested during the previous season. Also, most of my runs in the winter are by headlamp, which helps turn a typical evening run into an adventure.” – Zach, of Bozeman Running Company
“Winter training can do a great job of forcing you to get outside and get some fresh air during a time period when you’d be less likely to do so otherwise. Additionally, if you get fit during the winter you can be ready to take advantage of great spring racing weather.” – Brendan, of Sayville Running Company
Find something to do inside:
Mugs of hot cocoa aside, sometimes you are simply not up for the challenge of sub-freezing temperatures. Also, people tend to gravitate indoors during winter, and if you use your workouts as a social activity, you may feel compelled to follow along. That is okay, as you can still achieve a great workout indoors.
From Masters swims to Compu Trainers to enjoying time spent with slower athletes, our retailers had much to say about the benefits of more indoor time.
“I’m a runner, so I run through all the seasons. It can be a good time to add some strength training to your routine though. I probably hit the gym more frequently in the winter than I do in the summer when I just want to be logging miles.” – Brendan, of Sayville Running Company
“[I love] training inside near those that wouldn’t normally hold the exact same pace in the lake, road or by foot.” – Matt, of The Fitness Pursuit
“I really enjoy racing on the Compu Trainer inside as I can really let loose without a normal summer race coming up.” – Matt, of The Fitness Pursuit
“My favorite winter training activity is large group swimming like Masters swims. You can really feel and hear the energy in the room with so many working hard to improve themselves.” – Matt, of The Fitness Pursuit
Schedule a winter competition:
Nothing boosts motivation quite like the chance to compete. In addition to indoor activities, winter provides a great opportunity for cold-weather sports, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing – both excellent fitness-boosting activities that strengthen the legs and cardiovascular system.
If motivation is waning low, consider a race in one of these winter sport activities, a weekend trip to a ski lodge, or even a light-hearted, running-only event. The point is to stay fit while having fun, and a race is often just the spark needed to fall in love with your sport again.
“My favorite winter events are in the deserts of Utah. It’s great to find a winter trail race and run some dry trails for a long weekend, like the Antelope Canyon 50k.” – Zach, of Bozeman Running Company
“There’s a 10 miler that we host every January (Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to Blue Point Brewery) and it’s always freezing, but a really fun race and a beautiful course. It’s on my calendar every winter.” – Brendan, of Sayville Running Company
Find a great post-workout meal:
The reward that is truly worth the effort: food. When all else fails, thinking about that perfect meal to down after your winter workouts usually does the trick.
“Nothing is better than a hot bowl of oatmeal with bananas and granola!” Vince, of Vertical Runner
“The top winner has to be a vegetable and sausage chili. When I make this, I really put everything in: beans, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, you name it. I would recommend making this in massive quantities so that you and your friends may enjoy it for a few days!” – Zach, of Bozeman Running Company
“A warm bowl of oatmeal with PB&J dipping in is often my go to.” – Matt, of The Fitness Pursuit
Any winter workouts advice of your own? Share this post and let us know!
For other winter-training-related information, check out our previous blog posts here:
- What Happens to Your Body When You Adapt to the Cold
- 10 Tips, Routines and Techniques for Winter Training from Endurance Experts
- Seven Fun Ways to Cross-Train in the Snow (Plus Endurance Benefits!)
- Professional Athletes Share Their Advice on Staying Motivated in Winter
- Holiday Foods and Electrolytes
Images from: Pexels.com