Cold Weather Training

Dustin Myers

“The whole world was too cold, too big. And too cruel. ”

- Louis Lowry

It’s a cold world out there - figuratively, and of course literally at this time of year. As the days shorten, the leaves are gone from the trees, the sky is cold and grey, and it’s easy to miss the warm colorful world of summer and all of the workouts that went along with it. Training at OSG with the garage door open? Those days are over until at least April. Sprint work at the track in the blazing sun? Maybe next summer. Cliff diving and swim races at the quarry? Yeah right.

Call me crazy but there is something magical about training in the cold weather, especially the first time each year when I run outside in not just chilly, but COLD weather. It could be snowing or just a light drizzle of freezing rain, and the air burns your lungs. The wind stings your face and hands as it pushes against you, slowing your pace. It hurts. It actually feels like you are suffering.

But here is the great part - like most difficult things in life, the pain is only temporary. The harder you push, the sooner the workout will be over and you will be back in your warm house. The more often you can confront and overcome discomfort during training, the easier it becomes to overcome obstacles elsewhere in your life. It’s for that reason that I actually enjoy the pain that comes with running in freezing weather, boxing in a frigid barn, or doing pull ups on a bar so cold my hands might stick to it.  Maybe it comes from watching the Rocky 4 Siberia training scenes as a kid. Maybe it draws on my memory of seeing my Dad lift weights in our unheated detached garage no matter the temperature. Whatever the reason, I welcome the discomfort of cold weather training.

It’s easy to train hard when the sun is shining and you feel great.  But are you willing to push the pace when you’re cold and exhausted?  Learn to embrace the pain that comes when your training situation is less than ideal. Before you know it, the volume starts to get turned down on everything else, and suddenly things that used to seem difficult become easy. There isn’t one guaranteed blueprint to building mental toughness, but going for a hard run today in terrible weather is a great start.

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