30 January 2023
Finding Training in Winter
Running in Winter is tough, but it’s where you can get the most satisfaction after a run rather than during it. In the Summer there can be great views, you soak up some rays, and you can have a really enjoyable run, getting lost in the moment as your feet find that lively rhythm and you churn the miles up.
But in the Winter it’s different.
In the Winter it’s usually cold, wet and dark. Your knees hurt after because of the cold, your splits are slower, and there’s no view apart from whatever appears in the light of your headtorch – namely your feet.
But after the runs it feels great: you’re back from your early morning run, you’re warm and dry again and you realise that you’ve just completed a run in tough conditions, when most people were still in bed. You’re one up on most of your colleagues. The feeling of satisfaction at having got through that run is great, as you have your first coffee of the day and a well-earned breakfast.
That’s the feeling that you need to remember. If you forget it, and just remember what it’s like during the runs, then you’ll start to skip them. Once you skip one it’s easier to skip the next – it’s the snowball effect.
But some days it really will be worth skipping – icy roads aren’t worth running on, or really heavy rain. If possible, switch that to a treadmill/bike session, or just do some yoga or strength work instead that morning. The key is getting something in, so that at least you’re still training. The weather will dictate some sessions, but don’t let it become an excuse.
Common excuse: “I’ll get wet.” But when have you ever not gotten dry again?
If the weather has dictated training, then take your opportunities when they arrive. You might have missed out on some training, then there’s two sunny days in a row. Your plan only has you down for one run, but why wait? Take advantage of that opportunity and run on the second day too. Is it optimal? No. Is it better than missing out on that opportunity? Yes. Ignore your splits on that second day and get that run in!
The aim throughout Winter is to get in what you can. Get your aerobic base developed, with lots of steady miles. That can be on the road, the bike, the rowing machine… it doesn’t matter. It’s about working your heart rate at that level where you can just keep going and going.
So, take your opportunities where they appear, and put the work in.