Braving the Elements during Winter Training

27th February 2018

Going out to work on dark cold wet mornings can be horrible, even when you are going into a nice warm office environment and at the end of the day out again into a dark cold wet evening!

Let’s face it, training during the winter months can be very challenging – I write from experience although limited! Injury prevention and personal safety should be one of your greatest concerns whilst training – especially when it is cold, and especially if you’re not used to it. So, let’s not try to break any personal records, and don’t try to achieve new distance records either! Here’s my advice…

If you plan to go to the gym or pool go on your way home, once home it does not take a lot stay indoors! Get it over and done with. If you are out and about be seen, fluorescent vests, no head phones you can’t hear what is going on around you. If you run on the road face the traffic so you can see them coming.

Warm-up (Gently does it)

Take care on wet, icy pavements, sometimes it can be difficult to walk on the pavement it is not only the roads that are falling apart!

When I plan to run which is not easy for me as I am not the leanest person and bad knees from years of sport mainly rugby have taken their toll. I started with the NHS couch to 5k I found it very useful and I am not out to break any records just get round the course and running distance is not something that I enjoy. I run when able in a group, the social side of it keeps me going and you get encouragement from others.

Warm-up – with clothes!

Keeping warm is important, wear two or three layers in the winter especially when starting out, I wear light weight jogging bottoms to keep the wind of and a fluorescent jacket and a hat which is very important as you lose 30% of your body heat through your head!

Eat more

For me the eat well plate along with the 5-a-day guidelines are good. We need to understand that the food we eat is the fuel to help our body function properly. You would not go out in your car without putting fuel in it so look at your diet, plan what you eat to your exercise regime.

I play squash in the winter with my buddy Kev, I will eat my main meal 3-4 hours before I start exercise. I tend to have a banana 30 minutes before I start.

Hydration

It is important to keep hydrated in the winter as well as summer in the winter we wrap ourselves up in the cold. We still lose a lot of body fluid as we move around. Hydrate slowly drip drip!

Safety first

  • Outdoor swimming

Even for the most highly experienced outdoor swimmer – getting into waters at these temperatures is an absolute no.

  • Cycling in hazardous weather

Even is the driest of conditions, cycling can be hazardous. My suggestion is take short trips on roads that you know. Wrap up extra warm, and ride with others. Be sensible; avoid journeys’ out in the snow and ice.

  • Running in the cold

In the ice, falls are common and could lead to serious injury, be mindful of this. Running with others will give you added security and prevent being stranded alone injured in the cold. Always warm-up first. And if you can, run indoors, there’s no shame in being cautious.