, , , ,

Spoiler alert: if you’re hoping that I’ll suggest a seasonal affective disorder lamp, look elsewhere.  As the days get shorter and the temperature drops everywhere except San Francisco, I find that my workout habits change with the seasons.  Gone are the June mornings where Taylor and I could wake up at 5am and run down to the Golden Gate Bridge in the glory of daylight.  Now that I’m faced with limited daylight outside of working hours, I’ve adjusted my workouts to maximize the little time I have in the morning.  Here are some ideas to keep you on track and avoid a winter slump:

Run with a headlamp – although running in the dark is inherently dangerous, a headlamp is a great way to see what’s in front of you while remaining visible to oncoming traffic.  In recent years, they’ve become smaller, brighter, and cheaper; many are water resistant in case you’re inclined to start a 50 mile run in the dark while it’s raining.

Grinding it out at TNFEC 50 miler around 5:30 AM in the rain.

Putting my headlamp to good use at TNFEC 50 miler around 5:30 AM in the rain.

Strength train – darkness is never a problem at the gym, and winter days provide a great opportunity to focus on lifting.  I’ve been focusing on a triathlon-specific plan aimed at boosting my functional strength in all three sports for the past couple months.

Swim – whether you’re working on technique or fitness, morning swims are an invigorating way to start the day.  I also enjoy spending some time in the steam room to warm up before braving the San Francisco “winter”. 

Group exercise classes – many gyms offer group exercise classes with their monthly membership fees, and classes are a great way to mix up your indoor routine.  Just ask Taylor: she can recite the class schedule for every San Francisco Crunch location off the top of her head. I prefer spin as a substitute for outdoor cycling – especially now that the days are shorter.

Sleep – as the temperature drops, your body works overtime to keep warm, and it’s not uncommon to feel unusually tired or hungry during the winter months.  Listen to your body and enjoy the comfort of your warm bed if you’re too tired to work out; training season will be here before you know it!