If you are lucky enough to live in a location that stays warm year-round, lucky you (and, I’m also extremely jealous of you). If, however, you are among the many of us who choose to live in a place with 4 seasons, and as such it’s likely freezing temps outside by now, then you might be questioning your passion for endurance sports as you head out for a workout.Which begs the question; should you continue to train outdoors during the winter time?I’ve been racing for almost 20 years, and have lived around the country so have experienced all climates during the winter and of course coach athletes all over the country so this question comes up often.The answer really boils down to two things.First, your own comfort level. What’s cold for me, might not be cold for you. This is a fun experiment to witness if you go out for group bike ride or run. Once the temperature drops, you’ll see each person dress differently – some with the super big eskimo mitts on even though it’s barely 50 degrees out, while others run in their singlets in 20 degrees!Second, what does your next year’s race season / goals look like, and how is this winter training going to help you get there? If you have an early season race, or, you are in a pretty competitive category, you might want to reduce the amount of outdoor winter training and opt for some quality indoor trainer / treadmill training where variables can be easily controlled. However, if you have a late season race (like me, my A race is in August!) or just competing for fun, then go out there, enjoy the fresh air and different seasons, and experience something new.Now, regardless of which category you fall in, I think it’s still beneficial to get outdoors and enjoy some winter training as your comfort allows. Even a quick 45 minute ride or run outside can do wonders for the mind. The slippery and cold roads tend to force you to slow down, which in turn allows you to enjoy the scenery around you which you might have missed while staring at your Garmin during your summer interval sessions!Or, feel free to try something completely new and do some cross training! Rent a fat tire mountain bike and head out on some snowy trails. Get some skies or snowshoes and the snow. This way, you still get in an endurance workout, but refresh your mind and body with a new wintery challenge.And most importantly, when you do enjoy the outdoors remember to stay safe! With the soon going down sooner, typically more gloomy cloudy days, make sure you wear bright reflective clothing, throw on some lights, and take it slow if there’s ice out there.Have fun, enjoy the winter, and make the most of your training!
Tony Zamora is a USA Triathlon Level 2-certified coach who coaches athletes throughout the world as Founder & CEO of Endorphin Hub LLC (previously known as TZCoaching) an online endurance sports coaching business focusing on inspiring lives, one finish line at a time.For more information on training programs, contact tony at firstname.lastname@example.org