It’s often hard to get motivated to train during the winter when it’s cold and dark outside, and your next race is months away. However, it can be fun with a little extra effort. Here are my tips for making the most of winter training.
Winter is a good time to work on your swimming since that is something you can do indoors. I recommend swimming with a local masters group, especially if you aren’t feeling super motivated. Training with a group is so much more fun than always swimming on your own. There are usually a variety of different workouts, coaches are available to help with technique, and training partners push you to work harder. Also, for a change of pace try signing up to compete in a masters swim meet. There are usually a couple of meets in Cary or Greensboro that are open to US Masters swimmers. Here are some local swim clubs that have masters groups:
- YOTA Swim Team: masters locations in both Cary and Raleigh M-F 6:30-7:30 am. For more information: www.yotaswimteam.com
- RSA: Raleigh practice at 5:15-6:30 am or 11:00-12:15 pm most mornings and Sun 7:30-8:45. For more information: www.swimrsa.org
- Raleigh Area Masters (RAM): Practices in Raleigh M-W-F at 5:30 am or 12:00 pm, T/Th evenings at 6:45 pm, and Sat/Sun at 8:00. For more information: www.swimram.org
- TAC Titans: Practices in Cary 6:00-7:15 M-W-F or 6:30-7:45 T-Th and 11:45-1:00 M-F. For more information: www.tactitans.com
Running can also be a lot of fun in the winter with the right clothes. Living in NC, I normally get by just wearing tights, a tank, and a long sleeve running shirt, along with gloves, hat, etc. This year I went looking for something warmer to wear for winter biking and found a great run jacket that I wear for both running and biking now. I bought the Pearl Izumi Fly Soft Shell run jacket from Inside Out Sports and really love it, not just because it is a pretty turquoise color! When I bought it, I thought it would be too warm for running, but then it got really cold here, and I was so happy I had it! It has great wind protection and warmth, but still has good breathability. I didn’t miss a single run workout during all that cold and snow we had in January. I love running on fresh powdery snow (before it gets icy). I managed to get by OK without Yaktrax so far this year, but I could have used them with the 7” of snow we had a couple weeks ago.
It is a lot harder to get out on the bike when it’s really cold or the roads are icy. However, there are several good options for winter cycling if you are not a fan of spending hours on your bike trainer by yourself. Inside-Out Sports has group trainer rides inside the Cary store every Tuesday at 6:00 pm and cyclecross rides leaving from the store every Thursday at 6:00 pm. Another option is to try a cycle class at your gym. All the Triangle area YMCA locations have new spin bikes with power, and classes are now taught on power based on your FTP.
My last piece of advice is to go ahead and sign up for a spring race. If you have something to focus on during the winter months you will be more motivated to train.