3 Key Recommendations for Powerful Winter Training

3 Key Recommendations for Powerful Winter Training


What you do this winter can really make or break your upcoming season. Everyone has different perceptions of winter training: some like to rest completely, others may do some very light training, while some individuals go hard all year round. Therefore this time of year, is different for everyone.running in the snow


There are 3 vital components to establishing a very good winter training program. Before you begin your plan, you must make sure you’re well rested and recovered from the long season. It is essential to recharge those drained bodies and mental states; I would suggest taking a couple of weeks off and at least attempt two weeks of cross training. Once you are rested, recharged, feeling good and ready to work, your winter should contain the following components:

1. Cross-training.

There is strong evidence that strength and conditioning programmes greatly benefit endurance athletes. Karsten et al, 2016 illustrated that combining a 6-week resistance training program with endurance training significantly improves 5km time trial performance.

One of the most important cross-training exercises you can do this winter is strengthening your core abdominal muscles and increasing pelvic stability while combining peripheral mobility. Runwell Reformer Pilates is a class here at JT Physiotherapy that increases core strength and stability, woman swinging kettlebell in the snowincreases pelvic stability and targets flexibility, which can help you transfer energy from your upper body to your legs and which also helps to decrease injury. Please find attached a previous blog outlining the benefits of Reformer Pilates for Runners.

For aerobic work I recommend cycling, rowing or circuit training. Just keep it fun and not too intense, as cross-training is supposed to enhance your running. A word of caution about starting any new exercise, break yourself in slowly and build up gradually.


2. Know Safety, no injury. No safety, know injury.


Firstly its wintertime, therefore the temperature is dropping into single-digits. Well done on having the motivation to fight the threat of becoming frostbitten. Your regular running shoes that you have been using over the summer won’t provide you with the same traction you need when black ice covers the ground. To address the dangers of slipping and sliding, grab a pair of running shows with thick traction or tread that will hold up for the winter months. If it’s really icy shorten your stride to have more control over your step.

Dress warm but not too warm. If you over-dress you run the risk of becoming too warm therefore running in winterbecoming dizzy and dehydration sets in quickly. Dress in thin layers and definitely wear a hat, as well as a thin pair of running gloves. Make sure your gear is laced with reflective lighting.

Lastly, just because it’s winter do not abandon your warm-up. This will help you ease into the run, preventing muscle pulls or tears.


3. Rest.


Rest is a major component of a successful winter training program. Listen to your body. It can’t go fast for 12 months, so simply focus on building a strong foundation for the winter. Consider the runner lying on couchAll-Ireland Hurling and Football championships are won each year in September and have been for years. The old saying comes to mind – ‘championships are never won in January’.

Success is a journey, not a destination. It’s great to train hard in the winter, and it’s key to preparing yourself to push as hard as you can for the upcoming year. But if you constantly train hard with each passing night in the winter, you will peak in January or February. Find the appropriate balance. To keep your battery charged if training at a high intensity, give yourself consecutive rest days. This way you can balance hard training with proper rest and enter the season fresh and strong.


Do not lose your focus this winter. Train well, train smart. If you have any queries about any points raised above please do not hesitate to contact JT Physiotherapy today.




  • Karsten, B., Larumbe-Zabala, E., Kandemir, G., Hazir, T., Klose, A. and Naclerio, F., 2016. The effects of a 6-week strength training on critical velocity, anaerobic running distance, 30-m sprint and yo-yo intermittent running test performances in male soccer players. PloS one11(3), p.e0151448.



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cathal-ellis-jt-physio                            Cathal Ellis MISCP

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