When training for an event, personal goals or just plain habit, having your plans disrupted by weather can be highly frustrating. However it doesn't necessarily mean an unexpected rest day (or a reason to derail your plans). Here are 5 simple tips to keep your training plans on track, whilst also avoiding the risk of injury posed by adverse weather conditions.
1. Use common sense
As frustrating as an interruption to your training programme may be, sometimes determination and resolve to stick to the plan requires a little leeway. In particularly adverse weather conditions - especially icy conditions - be smart and tailor your training plans accordingly. For example, cold and damp weather requires appropriate exercise clothes, however extreme weather conditions may mean that the injury risks of training outdoors outweigh the benefits of sticking to the plan.
2. Be flexible
Consistency is important with any training plan, but it is important to be flexible when ice, snow or heavy rain keep you from training outdoors. For such occasions, have a back-up plan. If you are training for a marathon, set an alternate treadmill goal as a fall-back for potentially dangerous weather conditions. Although it is not ideal, the point is you are able to adhere to an alternative training plan which is far less of a set-back than getting injured. For team sports, an indoor pitch should be a viable alternative to training on the field.
3. Consider supporting exercises or cross-training
Exercises that work upon building muscle strength, balance and flexibility boost athletic performance and injury resistance across a spectrum of sports and athletic endeavours. Whatever your sport, training or fitness objective, it can be useful to have a cross-training programme which you can use when the weather is too poor to train outdoors. Mat-work, dynamic stretching and resistance exercises using bodyweight can all be done at home with little or no equipment required. This is a fool-proof method to not allowing your training to be entirely derailed by poor weather. Even if you are snowed in and unable to get to the gym, there are no excuses!
4. Adjust your route
If you are a runner, it is wise to have a series of running routes that account for varying weather conditions. For example, in icy conditions, avoid road running and go cross-country (or the gym). In very wet conditions, running on grasss can be more dangerous as it gets slippy, so road running may be more suitable to lessen the risk of slip-induced muscle strains.
5. Take extra care with recovery
When training in adverse weather conditions, your body will be challenged in a new way by the terrain and temperature. While this is ultimately no bad thing, it is particularly important to follow a comprehensive cool down and recovery protocol after training. Sufficient full-body stretching is vital as extreme cold causes the muscles to tighten more than usual. The benefits of an old-fashioned hot bath - particularly with added mineral salts - should certainly not be overlooked as an important part of post-training protocol.