So, it's November... the months of being outdoors in the fun and the sun are coming to an end (that is, if you live in a snowy climate like I do). You begin to wrap your head around training indoors... treadmills, stairmasters, and the grunt and grind of the weight-room, all sprinkled with some outside snow runs or cross-country skiing. You may be excited about the change, but you may not.
Most people shrivel at the idea of changing their outdoor habits... considering them to be indoor drudgery. They may feel exhausted at the mere idea of venturing indoors. They relish the dirt of a trail, the sun on their back; the wind drying their sweat from their skin. Coming indoors is about as exciting and enticing as cleaning the bathroom, specifically the toilet.
But, indoor workouts do not need to be met with such despair. You need to embrace them - but how?
My thoughts and ideas come from a career in the health education industry; nearly 10 years of working as the Wellness Educator for Western Athletic Clubs (specifically the Decathlon Club, now call Bay Club Santa Clara). I think of the winter months (for Montana, that is about 5 months, starting in Mid-October) as my "cross-training & learning new skills" months.
Why? I find that people fall into ruts and without some sort of change; these ruts make it hard for them to get out of. I meet so many people over the years who are still working out in the same manner they learned in college... and for some - that's 30-40 years ago! What a shame. So many things have changed through the years; so much research into the practice of strength training that by not expanding their minds, they are doing themselves a physical disservice. When I was in wellness, these same people would meet with me and complain why their workouts seem to NOT WORK any more... Well, their bodies became use to what they were doing. No change; no gain.
My winter months are made up of reading and then changing 'it' up. I usually purchase a few training books (currently, they are: Functional Training for Sports by Michael Boyle and Power Speed Endurance by Brian Mackenzie and Glen Cordoza), read them and put them to practice. Some people are surprised by this. They think because I have been a coach for almost 30 years and am currently mostly known as a "water coach" that I wouldn't read, learn or train in any other manner. Not true at all. I believe in cross training the body and the mind. I find this is a great habit as a coach and trainer - we should always be learning and growing. But it would also be an excellent process for anyone who appreciates working their body.
In addition, I use the winter months to attend a workshop or two, if I can. This is more challenging for me now that I am in Montana - as it is an area which typically workshops do not venture. However, in the last few years I took a Kettlebell, cycling & TRX workshop. In many cases, these workshops are intended for coaches/trainers, but if you look into it - some are open to everyone. I say this as I set up my HIT Method water training workshop to be inclusive in this manner!
So, instead of entering a gym in this winter season with such hesitation; look at it as a time to become a better athlete all around! Work on the areas that are your weakest, so come spring - you can tackle the trail/road and race better than you did the previous year.