09 December 2014
WORKING OUT WHEN THE WEATHER IS AGAINST YOU
Living in the UK means that the weather isn't always on our side. We do have those beautiful, sunny days, not a cloud in the sky and it's actually quite warm. But, for the most part the UK is known for having some pretty dreary weather the majority of the year (expect for this Autumn & Winter it seems where the weather has been rather pleasant!). It's dark, grey and the rain tends to tip it down making outdoor exercising and training not the most pleasant of experiences. So, when the weather isn't playing fair and it decides to chuck it down or you're facing a pretty terrible weather scenario to train in, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking "I'd rather just stay in bed".
But sometimes we do just have to get out of bed, get kitted up and get training. For the times we don't fancy having our workout in the great outdoors, there are definitely some alternatives. The most obvious one - apart from inside our own homes - is probably the gym. A warm, dry space that has all the equipment you need. Perfect. I really do enjoy working out at the gym for those days when it's far too cold outside or if I'm really not in the mood to battle the elements. It also means I can do my cardio as well as working with some weights, all in one place. It's got everything I need. However, exercising for extended periods of time indoors isn't always the best option. It can be severely demotivating. I personally can't deal with running more than 10k on the treadmill, I'd much rather run outside. Also, when you work out indoors it's not always creating the most realistic experience. When you head out on the bike next, you may find you struggle to cycle for as long or as far as you could in the gym. If you enjoy running on the treadmill, or cycling indoors, try using the hills as it will adjust the incline and resistance, recreating a more realistic environment. Treadmills are quite handy for speed sessions though, perfect for if you find the track you regularly train on is perhaps a bit more suited for ducks.
But for when you do inevitable have to train outside? Always make sure to dress appropriately and ensure your equipment (e.g. bike) is in proper working condition before you set off. Layering, especially during these colder months, is really useful. Light, breathable layers are much better than one thick, heavy layer. It's best to start with more layers on and remove them if you need to. You can take layers off during a ride but you can't add more if you're in the middle of nowhere.Clothing should also be visible to ensure you are seen by other road users and lights are essential to make sure you are seen in the dark. If you're out cycling, wear gloves. I learnt my lesson with this last week when I got to my destination with very little feeling left in my fingers. It's not fun. Even if it's not a windy day, when you build up speed you're hands will soon feel the chill. In terms of your equipment, especially the bike, make sure it's correctly set up and ready to go. Before each ride check the tires to ensure they're fully inflated and always check your brakes. In wet and icy weather it's extremely important that your brakes are working correctly and efficiently.
In general safety terms - make sure someone knows where you're going and the route you're planning on taking. Have contact details on you and a phone encase you find yourself in any trouble. It's always important to remain safe and not head out if you're not comfortable with the conditions you'll be facing. Workout at home or at the gym if you think the conditions are not suitable. Being safe is crucial and not something that should be sacrificed to fit a training session in.
It can be hard motivating yourself to carry on during the hard weather, but sometimes a challenge by the elements and dealing with factors that are largely outside of your control is just what we need. The satisfaction of finishing a tough workout is a brilliant feeling. Equally, is the hot drink and post workout reward you have when you finish - they're essential parts of training!
What are the steps you take to ensure that your training doesn't come to a standstill as a result of the weather and how do you stay safe? Let me know and tweet me @afloralcrown.
I'm posting everyday as part of my 24 days of Christmas Fitness. Make sure to check back each day for a new post all the way up until Christmas Day !