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12 Jul, 2017

Beat the Winter Brrrrr

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When it is cold and dark outside, we runners can often come up with plenty of excuses to avoid training, so try these great training tips to find the motivation to get out of from under our duvets, beat the freeze and keep fit! – BY RAY ORCHISON, CERTIFIED COACH

The alarm goes off and you slowly open your eyes, all snug in your warm, toasty bed, and you recall the promise you made to yourself to get up early and run, but then the excuses start coming thick and fast for not heading out, and so the alarm is reset for another hour, maybe even two, the duvet is pulled all the way up and it’s back to sleep. A simple way to avoid this temptation is to put your alarm out of arm’s reach, so that you can’t simply lean over and hit snooze. When it goes off, you’ll have to get up to switch it off, and once you’re up, there’s less chance that you’re going to climb back into bed.

The toughest part of training in winter is getting out of bed, but once you’re up and out on the road, you soon realise that it’s actually not as bad, or as cold, as you thought. But if you really can’t bear the thought of heading out the door into the icy cold dark, there are other ways to keep your fitness levels ticking over in winter.

1 Hit the gym: Do a 10-15min easy warm-up on a spinning bike, the Stair Master or the elliptical trainer, all with low resistance gradually building up to a higher RPM. Next, head to the treadmill, set the elevation to 1.5% (to offset treadmill training being easier due to no wind resistance), and play around with various 10-20min sessions of quality:
• Run easy for 90 seconds, then hard for 60 seconds, repeating 6-10 times.
• Increase the pace and elevation to 4-5% for 60 seconds and then easy for 120
seconds, repeating 5-6 times to give you a great hill session.
• Do a tempo session of 5min easy and then increase the pace until you’re hitting
your 5 or 10k race pace and hold that for 10-15min, then easy for another 5min.

2 Join the class: Sign up for one of the group classes for spinning or aerobics. It’s far easier getting back to training when you know others will be slogging it out next to you.

3 Hit the indoor pool: Do a few swimming sessions, which are great for core muscle strength and building your cardiovascular system. The water temperature at most gyms is normally around 25 degrees – warmer than outside!

4 Skip the dark: There is no rule stating that to be a runner one has to train in the morning or evening. Why not slip out for a quick run during your lunch break?

5 Set yourself a goal: Identify a race in the next month or two, make it your goal and you’ll find all the motivation you need!

Ray Orchison

Ray Orchison

Journalist |

Running Coach