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Karl Henry's top tips for winter training: 'Avoid cotton, and find a running buddy'


Karl Henry

Karl Henry

Karl Henry

Bad weather makes training a challenge. It's dark, it's damp, and don't the fire and TV look so inviting?

So here are ten tips that will keep you motivated and healthy during the long winter months.

People tend to train well during this time of year as people try and fit into a certain Christmas effort.

Avoid cotton

It's at this time of year that you realise how important it is to invest in high quality gym gear. Items that are wind, rain, and temperature resistant. It's good to spend your money on the right gear. Cotton retains water so you will get cold, sweaty, and uncomfortable during your training session. The fabric will also get heavier and make your work out feel like a real chore. Invest in a few good base layers and investment pieces, instead of opting for cheaper pieces. They also wash and last very well.

Good rain and wind proof jacket

It needs to be lightweight - not bulky. You are not going skiing so you don't want it to impede your workout. You want a jacket that is rain and windproof. If you are exercising outside it is crucial that you have highly visible work out clothes. It's key that people can see you in the grey weather.

Get a training buddy

It's a great way to keep each other motivated. You encourage them, and they encourage you. They will get you outside exercising. If you have someone in your life who wants to get fit, then ask them to train with you. Try and find someone who is fitter than you as it will encourage you to improve your game.

Have a goal or event to work towards

Having a goal is the number one thing to ensure you meet your fitness expectations but very few people set themselves a fitness goal. Make is specific - a marathon or race you will compete in. If you make your goal too vague ("I want to run more this year") you will not achieve it. When you ares setting your goal, be specific, be realistic, and monitor your development. Once you have decided what your goal is print off a picture of it (a holiday destination/ outfit etc) - having a visual will help keep you on track.

Setting yourself up for success

Choose a gym you like, having a friend and social group who are encouraging and supportive, having gym clothes that make you feel good, having healthy food in your house so you eat well. Setting yourself up as much as possible for success. This means planning - it is crucial for your health. Map out your week and your fitness schedule. Focus on particular on areas that you find challenging (times of day you are more likely to snack) to ensure you avoid them happening.

Try something new

Go to a new class. If you do the same sort of training over and over it becomes boring - for your mind and your body. The winter is a lovely time to try something dofferent. Register for a new class - not necessarily a fitness class - just something different that breaks your routine. 

Winter is a great time to try out new sports - have the craic. If you have a family - get a different member of the family to pick a different sport each week and you all have to participate in that. This year I am back marathon training - I try different things because it keeps my fitness interesting.

Train early

If you can only train in the evening, walk in the door, put your trainers on and go. If I sit down and watch TV it's going to reduce down my chances of going out. This is a great tip if you have a habit of ducking out of sessions.

Know when you don't have to train

Gauge your fatigue and mood levels and know when you don't need to physically push yourself. And learn how to trust your own judgement. If you are sore, then it's ok to give a session a miss.

Find something that accompanies your podcast

Find something to keep your mind occupied when you are training. A podcast or music that you may find entertaining. It can be a great way to encourage you to get out there.

Regular reward

Each month reward yourself - buy yourself a book, go to the cinema. It's the pat on the back - I set a target and I achieved it. Goal reward will keep you on track. If you struggle with consistency then this is a great way to regulate your training session.

For more episodes and information from the Real Health podcast you can also go to: https://www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-real-health-podcast/

The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry in association with Laya Healthcare.

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