With the colder weather arriving and some sessions being done in minus degrees, it is even more important to look after our bodies. If we want to be able to consistently train all year round, even when the bleak bitter weather arrives, we need to help our bodies have the best chance of doing so. What can we do to help ensure this?
This is vital at all times of year, but just that little bit more when I body is having to work slightly harder on a normal basis. When the temperature drops and its cold outside, our bodies have to work slightly harder to keep us comfortable. Thus, more energy is being expended when we are just sitting around. By fuelling your body well, you ensure you have the energy needed in and out of sessions at all times. If our body needs that little bit more food, give it to it!
Unexpected rest day
With winter, in and outside of coronavirus times, comes the arrival of more coughs, colds and bugs. As athletes our immune system is having to work harder as we are pushing our bodies, thus making ourselves vulnerable to catching different lurgies. If feeling you are feeling run down and your body feels zapped of all energy, don’t feel the need to trudge on through. This may result in weeks of you feeling below par. If you take an unexpected rest day, let your body recuperate and do some self care, you may notice a huge difference. Plus, one day of rest is far better than having to take multiple further down the line because you pushed on through when you needed to rest.
As the days get shorter and more time is spent in the dark (some days we don’t see the sun at all!) it is extremely difficult to get a sufficient amount of vitamin D in Britain in the winter. As written by … ‘The average daily vitamin D intake […] by the majority (97.5%) of the population’ (SACN, 2016) is less than recommended. Whilst I am an advocate for trying to get what you need without supplements, I 100% agree with taking vitamin D. ‘Dietary sources are essential when sunlight containing UVB radiation is limited (e.g., during the winter months) or exposure to it is restricted (e.g., due to lack of time spent outdoors)’, both of which are more likely in the winter months. Therefore, unless you’re able to afford hot weather training camps for the whole of winter, which I’m not, you are going to struggle to get the vitamin d your body needs.
Personally, I think us runners are pretty hardcore, and nobody likes having to step away from the shorts and reach for the leggings. I for one hate running in leggings and love shorts, but sometimes, those legs just need an extra layer. Being able to run without feeling restricted is one thing, but running with numb legs that hurt is another, and we don’t NEED to do that. Wearing leggings instead of shorts means nothing! No one is going to give you a sticker or a gold medal for braving the entire winter in shorts. In fact, you’re less likely to step towards getting that gold medal if you force yourself to wear shorts in freezing temperatures and then do yourself damage as a result. Plus, your body is having to work hard to keep you warm rather than just being able to focus on putting the effort into your session. So, whether it leggings, long sleeves, gloves, or hats, don’t hesitate to layer up.
Hot chocolate milk for after training
This one isn’t just for strength, but also because it just makes you feel great. There is nothing like drinking a nice hot drink outside in the cold! Chocolate milk is already a great post-session recovery option, but warm it up (hot chocolate) and it gets even better. Plus, if it can be classified as a post-session recovery drink, why not go for it.
Just because winter has arrived, doesn’t mean we can’t remain as strong, if not stronger, than we do in the brighter, warmer summer months.
SACN,. (2016) Vitamin D and Health report. Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Public Health England. TSO, London
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!