Training through winter isn't as hard as you think...
It’s that time of year again. When the dark mornings, long evenings and falling temperatures threaten to destabilise summer’s carefully cultivated training regimes. In winter, the struggle not to hit snooze on the alarm or not to settle in to the Netflix binge, is real. But this year, we've got your back - from climbers to kitesurfers, we’ve asked 7 SunGod Ambassadors to share their tried and tested tips for staying motivated and getting it done through the winter months...
1. Find a routine and stick to it
The ultrarunner - Flora Beverley (@foodfitnessflora)
“I try not to rely on motivation to get me through the winter - I'd never get out of bed! Instead, I try to form a really clear routine for training, whether I'm aiming for a particular event or just trying to get out 3 times a week. Within that routine, favour variety as you’ll be more likely to stick to it! Indoor gym sessions are great to avoid the worst of the weather, boxing is a great HIIT workout and speed hiking is a good way to get time on feet while being able to wrap up warm. Running will always be in my plan, but having variety breaks up the monotony of dark mornings.”
Essential gear: trail running sunglasses
2. Be organised
The kitesurfer - Tom Court (@courtintheact)
“If your sport involves playing in the water, winter doesn’t have to spell an end to the fun! The golden rule is just to stay warm and be organised about it. Make you’ve got the right wetsuit thickness for the water temperature – a little bit of warm water poured in the back to get you going does wonders too! Have a thermos waiting for you post-session and a nice thick coat that will warm you up once you get out of the water. As winter deepens, the cold can become an excuse to not engage in sports but not if you’re prepared!”
Essential gear: watersports sunglasses
3. Invest in the right kit
The sailor - Pip Hare (@piphareoceanracing)
“Sometimes, just getting the motivation to open the door and step out of your warm and cosy home is the hardest barrier to cross. I found that investing in a couple of key items for the winter months has helped make the transition from indoors to outdoors so much easier to bear. My recommendations would be a set of wetsuit socks, gloves and a neoprene hat to extend your wild swimming season and a good quality lightweight waterproof running jacket for land-based activities. Investing in the right winter kit will give you more time enjoy training from the first moment you step outside - and we all know that once you get going it starts to feel good!"
Essential gear: sailing sunglasses
4. Remember that summer gains are made in winter
The cyclist - Qudus Sadiq (@duzzlion)
“I’m a firm believer that winter training forms the foundation to summer success! This fact keeps me pushing through the winter as does seeing the constant improvement, which keeps me hungry and motivated for more. In winter I focus more on consistency and improving my FTP (Functional Threshold Power). Most of my winter sessions take place on my turbo trainer but I also enjoy going out for a 1-2 hour spin to get some fresh air when the weather allows. This way I know I’m going to be as good as I was last summer if not better!”
Essential gear: men's cycling sunglasses
5. Train with friends
The triathlete - Sian Rainsley (@sian_rainsley)
“We all know how hard it can be to get out the door on those cold and wet winter days and sometimes we just need that extra push! One great way to find motivation is by arranging to meet your friends. Not only does it mean you’ve made a commitment so are unlikely to bail, but it also makes the winter miles fun! Training is easy when it feels like a social and having a good laugh with your mates can definitely make it feel that way. You can also boost morale by organising a cafe stop halfway round your training ride or at the end. There’s nothing like a laugh, warm cup of tea and a cake to keep you motivated!”
Essential gear: women's cycling sunglasses
6. Set goals
The climber - Connor Dickinson (@ocean_going_monkey)
“Goal setting is a fantastic source of motivation. Sit down and think of something you would like to achieve in the spring, this could be to climb a specific route or boulder problem, climb a certain grade or do a one arm pull up. Once you have thought of your main goal, plan some mini goals that will help you progress towards achieving it. To keep track of your progress, make the goals measurable and achievable. To keep the motivation burning, write them down somewhere they will be visible on a regular basis. I like to write mine on a white board and put it on the fridge, that way I am reminded every time I grab something to eat.”
Essential gear: men's sunglasses
7. It's not training, it's self love
The runner - Monica Orikko (@its_monica.o)
“Starting my day with a run really boosts my confidence. Despite all the excuses I could have, getting it done boosts my self-esteem and I am able to be productive and motivated during the day. It's all in the mind and the brain is a comfort seeker. Most of the time it will give you a logical reason as to why it is better to stay in bed, so simply go against what your brain tells you! I normally ensure I enjoy my training runs and I think of every new day as a gift with so many possibilities, you just have to stay grinding. I appreciate myself for showing up at training and taking charge of that day - don’t allow your day to run you, run your day!”
Essential gear: women's running sunglasses
Winter doesn’t need to be a threat to your training regime, it can be an opportunity to get ahead. While the rest of the world retreats indoors, grab your gear and get outside. By the time spring rolls around, you’ll be glad you did! For more tips on staying motivated this winter, head here.