Training in Cold Weather

If you’re like me, the thought of leaving your warm,  snugly bed on a frigid, winter morning isn’t exactly appealing. Still, I do it.

Oftentimes, the 5:30 a.m. hour is the only free time I have all day to sneak in some exercise, so I can’t be too picky. Whether you prefer to exercise in the morning  or afternoon, winter weather can make it especially hard to get motivated.

Unless you’re hardcore like that guy, here are some tricks to help you push through the mental block:

1. Dress appropriately. A common excuse for winter exercise is “it’s too cold to be outside”. In certain conditions (i.e. sub-zero temps, icy roads and sidewalks, or a blizzard), I wholly agree with this statement and advise taking your workout indoors. Otherwise, the solution is just to put on more clothes. The other day I came across a nifty tool at http://www.runnersworld.com called “What Should I Wear?”. The web page asks you to plug in details about the outside conditions, analyzes your answers, and suggests the proper gear to keep you comfortable. You obviously don’t need to possess the exact gear pictured, but it’s a good starting guide.

On the topic of clothing, wear something reflective or fluorescent if you’ll be walking in an area with heavy traffic. Overcast skies and reduced visibility can make you hard to spot, and God knows the drivers in my area need all the help they can get.

2. Warm up before you leave the house. Do a few jumping jacks, run in place, or speed clean your kitchen. Getting your blood pumping before you hit the frosty temps will make it seem less cold.

3. Make a date. Recruit a friend to walk with you outdoors. It will give you time to catch up, and you’ll be so distracted by good conversation that you won’t even notice the sub-perfect temperature.

4. Break up your walk. Any fellow Avon walkers reading? Depending on when your Walk Weekend is, you might already be at a point in your training where the majority of your walks are 4+ miles or 1+ hours in length. That’s a long time to be outside on a very cold day. Rather than endure the frigid temps for a solid hour, structure your walk as an out-and-back and make the turnaround point a warm place. Whether that means dropping by a friend’s house, stopping for coffee at Starbucks, or running an errand on foot, just be sure to duck inside long enough to warm your hands.

Happy training and keep warm!

 

 

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