Three Pieces Of Advice That Keep Me Training Through The Winter

This time last year I was training in short sleeves and sunscreen on the South Island of New Zealand. We had just wrapped up my longest trail run to date on the Nydia Track. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have two, back to back summer seasons. It was heavenly. 

 Trail running the Nydia Track with friends in New Zealand

Trail running the Nydia Track with friends in New Zealand

Fast forward to now. My sessions happen under Whistler's winter skies or (if I must) indoors. I endure the wax and wane of downpours, fluffy snow flakes and enjoy the occasional clear day. Today the temperature hovers around a balmy -5C but that's life during the winter months in a Northern Hemisphere rainforest. To be honest, I love it.

 Playing hide and seek on a powder day. 

Playing hide and seek on a powder day. 

Unsurprisingly, training for summer-oriented races through winter is a challenge. To be ready for my 2018 race season of off and on-road triathlons I've added a new layer of structure into my life. It involves a change to my entire diet, sleep schedule and that of my husband's to support my goals (yeah, he's a Saint). 

 My Training Peaks log captures all the action from week to week.

My Training Peaks log captures all the action from week to week.

To add to the challenge, my coach and I are trying to find the happy medium of including unstructured winter activities, work stress, social life and an increasing training load. Even the soundest of dedication is occasionally shaken by the idea of endlessly staring at a wall on a spin bike, cutting a day on the mountain short or running in the dark.

 Headlamp selfie. 

Headlamp selfie. 

Luckily, I've had some incredible advice from some pretty cool people. Some advice that has rocked my entire approach to winter training.

Yeah, that good.

Here are three things I've been using to dig deep: 

1. Recently turned pro-triathlete, Steph Corker said in an interview that weather does not define if she trains. It only dictates what she wears. These words play in my head on repeat when it's dark and raining - but the job has to get done. I can't use weather as an excuse to keep me from getting sessions done. It's perfect Canadian inspiration!

You can listen to the entire podcast that she's featured in, here.

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2. My husband gave me some invaluable training advice very early in our relationship. Put all of your gear/clothing on and then decide what comes next. You'll feel too ridiculous walking around the house with a helmet or running vest on to bail on a session. It's genius. I can attribute endless successfully completed mountain biking and swimming sessions to this sole piece of advice over the years. 

 What an incredible birthday gift! A spin trainer to put my race bike on. Many thanks to my Whistler girl tribe and stellar husband. 

What an incredible birthday gift! A spin trainer to put my race bike on. Many thanks to my Whistler girl tribe and stellar husband. 

3. "Enjoy the process." My entire network of supporters from my coach, Kristian, to my family to blogs and podcasts all stress this as one of the most important rules of training. If I don't commit to taking in a deep breath and smiling when I catch the alpenglow bouncing around the Whistler valley at sunrise or embrace my inner warrior when I'm crunching through snowy trails in the dark - what's the point? 

 Yaktrax Pros paired with my Salomon Speedcross Trail Runners: The oh-so-stylish winter trail running set up.

Yaktrax Pros paired with my Salomon Speedcross Trail Runners: The oh-so-stylish winter trail running set up.

It's challenging to distill all of the great pieces of advice and gear that bulldoze the excuses. There's always a compelling case to stay cozy in bed at 5 AM but when I look around at all the support I have, triathlon feels much more like a team sport. At the risk of sounding a tad sappy, the people around me are what keep me inspired to keep going. 

Good luck in your winter training, go forth and achieve warrior status. 

Here are a couple of resources for more details:

Any other tips? Leave them in the comments below.