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If there’s one thing most triathletes can agree upon, it’s that winter training is the worst. Endless hours on the turbo, frozen fingers, and icy runs are all part of the fun each year. Here’s how to survive winter training and emerge in spring a stronger, faster, and happier athlete.

Don’t force training sessions

One of the most frustrating things about winter is being struck with ill health. We’re all prone to getting a cold or even flu, and if this is the case, your health needs to come before your training. Don’t force yourself to go out for a run or a bike ride if you are feeling under the weather as you will further damage your immune system and prolong the illness. Listen to your body and if you’re feeling particularly rough, focus on getting better; the training can wait.

Train smart not hard

You won’t win any bonus points for dragging yourself outdoors for an icy bike ride, and the risk of you slipping, falling, and injuring yourself are greatly increased in winter. Train smart by using a turbo trainer and making the most of your indoor sessions by following a structured plan so that you’re not just doing endless ‘junk miles’.

Don’t suffer alone

Motivation can be very sparse in winter and the short days and Christmas parties don’t make getting out there to train very easy. If you don’t usually train as part of a group, try to find some like minded individuals to train with so that you have more motivation to train. Be open and talk to your family and friends about your training so that they understand and are supportive if you need to skip a party or dinner in favour of getting the miles done.

Think ahead to spring

The light at the end of the tunnel are those longer, brighter spring days and the excitement of the races you have in the diary. Remind yourself of which races you are doing in the coming year and be aware of how hard you’ll have to train for them. They say it’s the training that should be hard not the race, so make sure you get to that start line well prepared. It’s easy to lose hope in winter, especially if you’re struggling with your training, so always focus on your goal and remember why you are doing this.

Good luck triathletes!

About the author: Alex Parren is a qualified personal trainer and nutritionist as well as a keen triathlete. With the Paris Marathon and London Triathlon on the horizon in 2018, she knows how important it is to keep training consistent over winter. Alex is also a fitness writer and runs the blog for Sundried sportswear.