One of the hardest parts about being a successful triathlete is creating conditions for successful treatment across an entire year the matter where you live. I don’t know if it’s just me, or the fact that I’m getting older, but the weather definitely seems to be crazier now than it’s ever been. Nobody “just” gets snow anymore. When they do it’s either three feet of snow or it’s a light dusting that causes a million different types of accidents.
Regardless of where you live, or the environment in which you train, I can guarantee that the four seasons will bring a level of difficulty to your training that was unanticipated when you started. Here’s how you can realistically continue to stay and build build fitness as you deal with the changing weather conditions.
Number One – Always Have The Big Picture Goals In Mind
It’s really helpful to have a full understanding of your season as well as where you are now in relation to the rest of your year. For example, if your next big race is four or six months away, then missing a day in February is no big deal. Now if that race is in the next four weeks — that’s another story altogether!
You can use the understanding of your season and the knowledge of when you need to be fit versus want to be fit as a guide for making sure that you’re doing the right work. So first things first… map out your year so you understand where you are in relation to the work you need to do.
Number Two — Understand Your Options
When the weather goes South, your training opportunities become limited. No way you can ride outside. Running can be treacherous. The pool will probably be closed or at the very least have a very delayed start. Instead of using your training plan as the arbiter of what you should do on any given day, focus instead on what the opportunities are and then get your “best possible” workout in.
So if the pools close today, take that swim workout off the table. And if it’s treacherous outside because the roads aren’t plowed or it’s dark, the run goes away. That leaves you with time on the trainer — so find the best possible bike workout you can do, and do that work out.
Conversely, if you love running outside in the snow and there’s fresh powder on the ground then make the accommodation in your plan to get that run in before everyone else ruins it (!) and figure out what to do later regarding the bike and swim.
Remember, blindly following a training plan despite the constraints placed on your training opportunities is a recipe for stress. Be flexible and seek out opportunities versus problems when considering your training.
Number Three — Keep Your Perspective
Understand that there are bigger forces at work than your training and the impact this storm will have on your race performance in the next six months.
For many, a winter storm can bring a loss of power or even a life-threatening disaster. For your kids, this is the best day ever. For you, your workouts are messed up.
Instead of getting bogged down about how awful things are, step back and look at the situation through your kids’ eyes. It’s a snow day, it’s time to hang out and do something super fun.
Maybe it’s an opportunity to catch up on a bunch of work you otherwise would not have been able to do today.
It could be an opportunity to get to know your neighbors as you’re shoveling them out. Whatever the problem, find the silver lining to make the most of it.
Number Four — Keeping An Eye On Your Fatigue And Overall Wellness
One of the biggest issues around big-time snowstorms and inclement weather is the impact it can have on your health. For those of you who are heading outside to do serious training in the cold weather, or just spending serious time shoveling, you might find that you are on the verge of getting sick.
It’s very important that if you can’t stay warm, you do everything in your power to stay dry. The combination of cold and wet is what most folks to get sick is it significantly drops the core body temperature.
At the same time you want to be mindful of all the work you’re doing outside of your training. If you’re outside shoveling, snow blowing, chipping ice, cleaning off cars, knocking snow out of trees, helping your neighbors, etc., then you’ve been really busy.
Add in a big workout on top of that and you will easily exceed the physical stress load that your body is used to handling. Combine that with other levels of environmental stress, and you could easily be setting the stage for a low-grade cold that can undermine your training.
Number Five — Record the Epicness of it All
If it’s going to be crazy, just roll with it and take a picture. Post it online. Do what you can and share that with your friends and training partners. This is a great way to not only hold you accountable, but also just celebrate being able to do what you can.
Inside Endurance Nation we have a vibrant community of athletes who enjoy training regardless of the challenges that they face the day geographical, environmental, or even physical. Celebrating all of these challenges in our daily efforts to be our best is one of the core elements of being a part of Endurance Nation.
Besides, being able to look back at your trading and seeing this crazy picture or reading that ridiculous status update will give you perspective on what really matters and at least bring a smile to your face. The only thing worse than missing a workout is getting bored with your training sessions and that’s pretty much guaranteed not to happen this winter.
Good luck out there have fun and stay safe!