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winter training tips ?


It's currently dark and rainy outside, I managed a quick 5k between downpours, and this is as good as it gets for the next six months....

How do you keep your fitness up in the winter ? I have only been at this lark for about a year, last winter I binned it and did aerobics classes instead, which was barely enough to keep my 10k fitness up. I've got a marathon planned for next autumn, so aerobics really isn't going to cut it !

My choices are trying to fit in a regime around crap weather and shifts, and the treadmill...

What do you think ? What do you do ?


  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 174

    The weather should never stop a run.

    There is no such thing as inappropriate weather, only inappropriate clothing.

    I use winter to do most of my run training.

    Snow and wind etc. only make it more challenging.

    MTFU and get on with it

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    One thing we do not take seriously is recovery. Very often I read posts in other forums about young Ninjas detailing how they did 3 marathons a week in training in between 300 mile rides but then have to pull out of events through injury. Use the winter to rest your body but also get in some consolidation/remedial training.

    Ah to be young and able to shrug off injuries ... treadmill for me in winter. Outside its cold, wet and dark all recipes for injury. I am blind as a bat without my specs and putting in contacts is too much of a faff so going for a run in the dark is fraught with problems.

    Treadmill is low impact, you are in a controlled climate, no dog turds, wet leaves, ice, snow or wet moss waiting to tip you upside down and inflict all sorts of muscle damage. You can devise and put in place a training programme and have consistency in its delivery, it is not however 'well hard'.

    Running in bad weather is certainly challenging and when you are young you recover easily and probably never get injured in the first place; a slight slip on ice, wobble wobble, regain your composure carry on running, when you are older you are more likely to sustain an injury. That I cannot afford, It is a needless risk that I am not prepared to take so that's why I play it safe. My Dad was a cracking runner but he had a small tumble when running on a winter evening in his 60s and was never able to run again and that really hit him. Not to be beaten he got a treadmill and continued with fast walking sessions every day into his seventies..

    Aerobics, don't knock it, good for core strength, what about Pilates, can't recommend it enough, marvellous, great for posture and core stability. Have you got body pump or body combat at your gym?

    Swimming, you'll find less sqwauking urchins and can maintain your swim skills which is usually a weak area for many of us - well me especially.

    Spin classes? In my old gym my instructor had a cracking workout and I would have a mini brick session, 45 mins spin then hop straight off onto the treadmill for a 5k run at race pace.

    Then of course you have weights and the other weapons of torture; leg extensions great for quads, step ups, squats, rowing machine, ab crunches.

    So if you have a gym then hit it, you will be fitter and more ready when the better weather comes back, then you can rack up the mileage.
  • I'm not planning on doing any open water stuff during the winter so swimming is reserved for early mornings/evenings as I don't need to worry about the light.

    I'll try and run three times a week but nothing too intense. If it needs to be done on successive days so be it, although I will try and avoid that. It's unlikely that I will go out in the worst weather but I am likely to do some races in poor weather, so I want to be prepared for them.

    Cycling as with running will be when the opportunity arises on the better days. We've just invested in a turbo trainer so hopefully we can keep the mileage up despite rain/snow/ice. Mountain bikes are probably going to get more use for the next six months as well.

    I am fortunate enough to work shifts so plenty of nights at work and chances to run/cycle during daylight. The big key is flexibility. Rest days will be those days when the weather really does make training difficult. When the weather is good I will try and get in plenty of training. This might mean a couple of rest days in a week combined with a couple of days with multiple sessions. Not ideal but realistic.
  • well I do lots of swimming, some gym work and as others have said dress appropriately for runs. But I have invested in a turbo trainer for the bike as I learnt the hard way that ice and road bikes don't mix as I went out last feb thinking it was fine as it was sunny but it was very cold. 20 mins in I hit some ice on a descent down a lane with high hedges so the sun hadn't got to it and I smacked down and slid down And man, that hurts alot especially with a bruise covering my side of my leg and plent of scrape cuts! it was a month before I rode again (a mixture of having a psychological barrier & finances to repair bike & my leg still being sore) and a week before it didn't hurt too much to run. So this winter my rule is not to take the risk if I'm unsure and use the trainer.... it may be ok along my road but what about hidden lanes etc

    As for running, I have trail shoes and found when we had the snow at the beginning of the year I did some cracking runs in the snow and in fact had arguably my most important run after struggling with run fitness I did a 10km run in the snow and after that it gave me the mental confidence to know I can run longer distances in road shoes knowing I ran 10km in snow! Also running up a steep hill in snow allows you to recreate the training scene in Rocky IV which is awesome in it self

    for the cold nights I simply stick to routes I know well, dress up in light warm clothes (tights are great for this) and always enjoy running in the cold... in fact I prefer running in the cold and/or the wet more than the heat!
  • Check out the under Armor gear for cold weather training, I use there Ice hockey gear!
    (I don't work or sell under armor by the way, just its good stuff for winter miles)
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Winter training - its great! Get up and run first thing - you get the benefit of empty roads, street lights, and the sun coming up. Brilliant! As for clothes - rain/wind proof jacket, a pair of gloves, tights and ear warmer headband thingy, a base layer and a long sleeve top and you should be fine when running.

    bike - i just use the turbo and occasionally get out when it is dry and clear.

    swim as normal
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Why stop racing,
    cross country season is starting.
    Fell racing continues.
    Cyclocross and you can use an mtb.

    All of which help you maintain fitness,keep a competitive feel even if you don't race to win it is still training with a group of like minded individuals.
  • Thank yoooo.

    What does MTFU mean ?

    I didn't mean to come across as whiny, however I live in rural Scotland, I don't have a park or footpaths, I have to run on the road, which is kinda dangerous in the dark when it's slippy. All great in the summer though, and I have no end of hills to choose from !

    I am going to concentrate on running; or aerobics or my beloved body pump when it's miserable (I don't mind a bit of rain, we do the races wet through anyway, but it was hailing horizontally yesterday and I'm not trudging through that, I don't care how good the gear is !) I am also taking up fell running. My first ever is Tinto fell race on 13th November. I hope it's not hailing, or I'm not doing it !

    I never thought about spinning, good idea, cos I am absolutely not wasting my precious bike on the roads round here in winter.

    Going swimming now, tata
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Not many Fells in Lincolnshire - good luck with the Tinto and I do miss body pump from my last gym - sigh - nothing to do with the instructors who were well fit babes - in fact one has just turned up as a neighbour - cold shower time.

    As the others have pointed out all sorts of options but I wimp out at the running in wet and snow bit as if I injure It takes ages to recover and it is not worth the risk for me. You young uns will recover quickly or probably not get injured at all - ah the bounty of youth.

    Anyway - good luck with the race
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