If wintry conditions prevent you from running outside, the treadmill might be your only option. While this is rarely a good thing (although some athletes actually prefer the treadmill!) you can still have a good workout and get those miles in.
Use heart rate data
Heart rate training is a great way to maximise results and be able to get more out of your training session. By using a fitness wearable that incorporates heart rate tracking, you will be able to monitor your heart rate throughout the workout to make sure that you are working hard enough! A lot of heart rate trackers will allow you to do a VO2 max test and even an FTP test which will give you your personalised heart rate zones and this will help you to identify where you want to be when you're running.
Do hill repeats
If you live in a flat area, the treadmill can be your only opportunity to get some hill training in, so make the most of it! Hill training as well as sprints are vital for getting faster at running and improving your overall fitness. Pounding the pavement for mile after mile is good for acclimatising your body to endurance, but hill work and sprints will improve your overall form, not to mention the fact it'll save you when you inevitably hit a hill during your race!
Try Fartlek training
Fartlek may sound like a hilarious word to us English speakers, it's actually a very important method of training. From the Swedish meaning 'speed play', Fartlek training refers to a type of interval training when you mix up the speeds and intensities randomly. Most types of interval training will have you doing the same repeats, such as 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. However, in Fartlek, the idea is to keep your body guessing and change it up every time, so you might sprint for 40 seconds, then walk for 20 seconds, then jog for 50 seconds, then sprint again for 30 seconds and so on. The more random the better, as this will stop your body from adapting and will help you see better results.
Don't get distracted
You'll see at lot of people at the gym who will sit back on a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill with a book, magazine, or even a film in front of them. While the logic of this is sound, it is not conducive to a good workout. If you are focussed on something else, you won't be focussed on your training. You need to concentrate on your running, listen to your body, and push hard to get results. If it feels easy, it's not working!
One thing that all triathletes can agree upon is that winter training is the worst. Frozen fingers, numb toes, and the dreaded 'winter miles' come around every year but somehow it never gets easier. That's why here at Sundried we've come up with 10 ways to make winter training more bearable. So button up and don't lose hope just yet.
1. Invest in a great pair of gloves.
One of the worst parts of cycling outdoors in winter is frozen fingers. Cycling doesn't raise the core temperature in the same way running does and it's the extremities which suffer! Make sure you have a great pair of winter gloves at your disposal to combat against the pain of numb fingers. The Sundried winter gloves are made from 90% bamboo and are naturally great at insulating your hands without making your palms sweaty. They also feature silicon grippers to the palms so that you won't slip on wet handlebars. If cold weather gloves still aren't enough, try a pair of more heavy duty ski gloves.
2. Find an indoor set up that works for you.
Don't feel like you have to do all of your winter miles outdoors and suffer through the cold. A lot of Sundried ambassadors train indoors in the winter and this is a very common thing for a lot of triathletes. You have lots of options when it comes to training indoors, from using a spin bike at your gym to investing in a Wattbike or a Turbo Trainer. Find what works best for you and the set up you like best. Sundried ambassador and Team GB Triathlete Paul Suett has his turbo trainer set up in his garage, while fellow Team GB Triathlete Laura Rose Smith has hers in the house. So long as you make it work for you and you're comfortable, that's all that matters.
Use the tactic of layering up and utilise it to your advantage. Packable outerwear like the Sundried water-resistant jacket is perfect for outdoor winter miles because you can wear it to protect your from the elements, and then take it off and pack it away easily if you get too warm. The Sundried Grand Casse outdoor jacket packs away into its own little bag which you can clip onto you or your bike when you don't need it and whip it back out if it starts raining or even snowing. Wearing lots of layers means you can adjust your warmth and coverage throughout your ride.
4. Do a thorough warm-up.
If you start your ride cold, chances are you won't really warm up at all. Sometimes in summer we can be hot and sweaty before we even start a training session and it's easy to cut the warm up short. In winter, make sure you do a very thorough warm up so that your blood is pumping and your heart rate and core temperature are high before you even start. This will give you and your body a better chance out against the elements.
5. Make the miles count.
Don't head out and do 'junk' miles just because you think you have to. Make each mile count, and if you don't think the session will benefit you because you have a cold or the weather is particularly bad, decide whether it's actually better to skip that session all together or perhaps do a different type of training instead.
6. Don't go it alone.
Being motivated to train alone can be hard at the best of times, but particularly difficult in winter. If you don't usually ride with friends or a club, see if you can find one to join, if only for a few months. Most towns have a local cycling club who will be willing to welcome you warmly to the team. Cycling together will help to while away the hours out on the road and it'll mean you'll have team mates to help you if you experience any problems out there. Even a friend or family member to cycle with could make all the difference.
7. Don't be too hard on yourself.
Winter is a difficult time of year for everyone, from the short days and cold weather to the seasonal depression and winter illnesses, it affects us all. You'll never do your best training in winter and it will be really tough to stay motivated, so remember why you first started doing this and try to enjoy yourself as much as possible! Hopefully your motivation will thaw out in the spring.