Let’s face it; the winter can freeze our training. When the wind is brutally cold, the days short and dark, and the snow and ice cover your favorite rowing spot, it’s easy to talk yourself into taking the day off. Soon the temps pop into the 50’s, you break out your running shoes and realize the past few days have all been exercise-less! Die-hard folks may not stop with the weather report, but most of us shamefully suffer from the winter wimpy factor. This year, your fitness won’t let you down when the ice finally melts! Here are my three tips to make your winter workout regimen more consistent and a heck of a lot more enjoyable.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!”

A wise man told me that when I moved back to New England last fall after 12 years in Southern California. This has been my motto every time I suit up to workout in the elements for a winter workout. With a few small investments in winter training gear, I’ve been hitting the roads, trails and even water as if it was 70 degrees and sunny (almost). Here are some of my must haves:

  • Gore-Tex trail running shoes and wool performance socks – nothing worse than soggy feet with bunching socks 5 minutes into your run/hike.
  • Head lamp and red blinker light – to see and be seen.
  • Light wind-breaker jacket and pants – wind is the “killer” and with warmer clothes underneath, you’ll be toasty.
  • Merino wool base for warmth and wicking – do the “layer thing” always expecting the conditions to get worse, not better.
  • Yaktrax for snow and ice traction

Make a workout more accessible to you.

Look for gyms in your area offering group classes or equipment you may enjoy. It’s no mystery that gym memberships and usage rise as the temperature drops. Take advantage of potential membership deals or join for 3-4 months to get your through the winter workouts.

Set up a workout area at home. I just made an area in my basement into a great little circuit workout arena. With an old rug, yoga mat, WaterRower, TRX suspension training, an old pair of dumbbells and a killer boom box, I’m good to go. I can get in a quick 20-30 minute interval workout when time is tight or if it’s dark and cold. I can also choose to row for an hour while my kids play upstairs. A wind-trainer for $100 can convert any old bike into an indoor cycling option.

Don’t forget that you can purchase online coaching guides as well. I offer 3 different rowing workout videos and multiple audio workouts available from pear to ensure that you stay motivated throughout the entire workout! These options provide a professional coach and endurance athlete leading you through the perfect rowing workout.

Find your goal or motivation

Some of my clients train all winter long with a Springtime Ironman to keep them focused and disciplined. Of course, your goal doesn’t need to be so lofty, but it does need to exist. Here are a few simple but effective examples: –

1. Commit to 3 group exercise classes or personal training sessions a week.
2. Run 10 miles by March 1st. Start now and increase gradually. If your not consistent it won’t happen.
3. Row 20,000 meters a week. No matter how you want to break it up, get it done!
4. Enter your first cross-country ski race with the simple goal of finishing it.
5. Going skiing? Prep for a few weeks prior to your trip to speed hike up the mountain one early morning and come down the easy trail. Trust me it’s fun!

Want to workout with a team? A great resource for those of you who like to work out in groups is the November Project. Started by rowers, you can meet up with them weekly and see how much farther you go with a “team” behind you!