The weather is turning cool and the days are getting shorter. Here are some tips and gear to keep you moving through the cold weather months.
If you’re an outdoors addict who lives in a more northern latitude, you’ve no doubt noticed shorter days, and cooler training temperatures. This time of year I start making adjustments in my training routine and resources to keep motivation strong, and achieve fitness goals regardless of weather challenges. As a runner in Vancouver, rain or shine, these tips help me not only complete cold weather workouts, but also look forward to them.
Emphasize carbohydrates to prepare and recover
Energy during exercise comes primarily from glucose, and when training outdoors in the cold weather, you may find you’re more likely to shiver, avoid recovery breaks, or push harder in an effort to stay warm. This increases your energy expenditure, and depletes muscle glycogen reserves faster. The more quickly a carbohydrate is digested, the faster glucose is available for energy pre-workout or for rebuilding muscles post-workout—without having to deplete muscle glycogen stores. Use dried dates, coconut palm nectar, or agave nectar for the base of a homemade pre-workout energy drink, like these ones from Thrive Forward.
Rub it in
If you’re training two days in a row, or you’ve just increased your workout intensity, it’s likely you can relate to the need to train regardless of being sore. While it’s important to listen to your body and acknowledge the difference between pain and complementary stress, warming muscle rubs can at least help support symptom management. I use this one, from Natural Hero, made with ginger and rosemary essential oils.
Linger a little longer
Start your outdoor workout with an indoor warm-up. To minimize your risk of cold weather injury due to constricted muscles, which impairs your range of motion and coordination. Take an extra 5 to 10 minutes inside for pre-workout foam rolling, dynamic stretching, jump rope (my favorite) or light, low impact cardio like using a stationary bike or rowing machine. This stimulates blood flow and circulation, helping to limber up muscles before you head outdoors. Or check out these yoga poses for circulation from Vega Ambassador, Kreg Weiss.
Accountability and camaraderie are helpful tools in colder months. I joined a (free) weekly run club at my local Lululemon in Vancouver for these reasons, and the beauty is, regardless of weather, I have access to both, in plenty! If you enjoy social media as well, look for a run club, or group fitness facility that engages with its members online, as this can help sustain motivation between meet-ups. It’s also a great way to find spontaneous run buddies for additional workouts you might otherwise have completed solo.
Serve it warm
Mix your Pre-Workout Energizer or Recovery Accelerator with warm (instead of ice cold) water, for a more comforting way to ease into–or out of–the cold. Try not to mix it with boiling water to protect heat-sensitive vitamins, such as the B-vitamins in Recovery Accelerator.