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Winter Training- alternatives that may compliment your current training whilst it’s not so nice out

So winter is well and truly set in with the clocks changing and finally a change in temperature, for the moment anyway. With this comes the eternal battle of making yourself head out in the dim dank weather for that run or cycle.

Unless you particularly have an event coming up in winter or early spring then why put yourself through it. Embrace it or do something different from the norm. It may even compliment your current training, add some variety or help with the tedium. So instead of dreading the winter slog of cold/wet runs or struggling with the motivation to get to the gym in the dark mornings, maybe try the following suggestions.

Embrace the Winter or Limit your exposure:

Embrace the winter:

Trail running – try off road running, embrace the mud and explore the local woods. This is great for those who are road runners as it gives the body a change in stride length and frequency. Reduces the likelihood of stress fractures or overuse injuries from the repeated road pounding.

Mountain biking – hire a mountain bike and get out and about. Going to a local mountain bike centre can be a great day out with friends and again choosing to cycle back up to the top of the runs adds a great cardio component.

Hiking- not all cardio has to be fast, you can still gain great muscular endurance and a cardio component from hiking mountains and is a lower impact on the body. If you are really keen then add weight to your pack to add intensity.

Intervals, keep it short and sweet- there is no need to always slog away with a long slow run, however effective they are. It is sometimes good to have a shorter more intense tempo run or pure intervals.

Limit your exposure - stay in the warmth but work hard or in a different way:

Resistance training (home or gym)- a commonly neglected element of training for the majority of endurance athletes. Also, correct resistance training Is of more importance. Whether this is at home or in the gym there is nothing stopping you doing a 30 min work out. Working on endurance won’t add muscle bulk, it will reduce risk of injury but help with posture, movement efficiency and many other psychological benefits like stress relief. Add a 4 minute round of Tabata (20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds) of large body weight compound movements like burpees and you have a great way to improve CV.

I can suggest focusing on pelvic, scapular and torso control “core stability” as some people call it as it's commonly the missing link in all sports.

Pilates &/or Yoga- Flexibility & activation is the key to all sports and so often neglected within peoples training. Try either classed based exercise as a different focus to your training in the winter months. It however does take a bit of time and experimentation to finding a teacher and style that you click with. But open your mind and give it a go.

Exercise classes e.g. spinning – this can be a great way to add competition, intensity and fun back into your training and there is definitely no way you will be cold afterwards. Go with a friend and explore the huge variety of classed on offer at your local gym or leisure centre.

Climbing - Whether it is bouldering (no ropes) or top rope climbing (rope and harness) can be a great way to improve your relative strength and also movement patterns you’re not use to. This can be a really good activity to do individually (bouldering) and with friends.

Squash, tennis or badminton – a variety of racket sports to keep you entertained however good you are. Just make sure you pick your opponent carefully.

Swimming- not my cup of tea but horses for courses. It again can be a long and slow total lengths or some short sharp intervals to work on anaerobic capacity. Low impact and kind on the body.

These are just some possible ways to boost your winter training instead of feeling guilty about what you keep on shying away from in the cold wet weather.

Most importantly, you are more likely to do something you enjoy so therefore pick something you enjoy and not something you think you have to do.

#wintertraining #itscoldoutside #peakfitness #winteriswherethegainsare

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