I’m finally back in London after three weeks away. During these three weeks, I trained on average 2 hours a day and incorporated at least two forms of sport in each session. The weather was a mild 22 degrees Celsius and it did not remotely prepare me for what was going on in the UK.
Mist and fog, snow and wind; London was definitely not burning. Upon my arrival home from the airport, I discovered that an external pipe had frozen and burst, plunging the house into cold and darkness. It took 5 full days for the problems to be resolved, in the meantime, my workouts had to be socially innovative.
Warm bed, freezing house. I woke up every morning in an overly heated room, thanks to an oil heater I keep in the attic. Upon escaping Satan’s lair, I entered arctic territory, the temperature differential was over 30 degrees. A run to the front door before an escape to work, an unusual sanctuary; where a hot shower awaits in the gym.
This brings me on to the main topic of this blog: how the weather affects our bodies and training. I believe endurance athletes fall into two camps, those that thrive in colder climates (like the hardcore Brits) and those that enjoy warmer climes (those from the southern hemisphere, mediterranean etc), I fall into the latter category. Just like my house, my body begins to malfunction when temperatures approach zero. For me, a colder environment means a longer time to warm up (workouts less than an hour are pointless) and therefore a less enjoyable overall experience.
What can be done during such periods? Well, I find using the most of my office gym helps. The other advantage of using a treadmill and a turbo is that you can focus on technique as there are no external distractions and a plethora of mirrors. It’s just you, your muscles and your target pace/distance. It was tough to begin with, but like all endurance sessions, you become accustomed to listening to your body and adapting your mindset. Increasing your swimming sessions also helps – it is refreshing, means you’re in a warm environment and I also find it quite relaxing.
As for venturing out into the open, I recommend storing your clothes and shoes in a warm cupboard (I keep mine close to a heater) as it helps during the warm up period and it generally means you leave your home with a smile.
All in all, there are solutions to all weather-related problems, be it at home or during training. Now if only I can get rid of my cold and continue 2010 with a bang!