8 Ways to Mix Up Your Winter Training

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Staying motivated can be tough, especially when daylight and weather are against you. Keep things fresh and continue training with these tips.

Lean on Electronics

If you're stuck inside and still wired, break free! Switch to Bluetooth headphones, use your phone to control your connected devices and even grab a remote control for the fan and/or lights in your indoor training environment. Less clutter leads to more motivation.

Gamify Your Training

For some, winter means exclusively training on the stationary bike or treadmill, which can get old pretty quickly. Try instead to break from routine with fartleks. When you're watching a movie, every time the main character gets a close-up (or says a certain word or phrase), increase your effort for 30 seconds. Or, if you're watching a TV show, any time there's a commercial break, increase your effort by 10 percent until the show resumes.

Pro Tip: If you want to binge-watch your favorite programs on a streaming service or on-demand, allow yourself this indulgence only when you're doing a training session. You'll want to get back in the saddle to find out what happens next!

Go Nowhere Fast

Ride a metric century indoors by completing a 100 by 100m swim or a 21K treadmill session. If you're not sure how to manage these distances, get the advice of a coach or break it into feasible chunks with breaks in between. If those goals are too daunting, try starting with half the distance and working your way up to the full.

Do a Virtual Challenge

If you use Strava, sign up for a cycling or running challenge. If you have Zwift, try a virtual race. If you're a Garmin Connect user, you can create your own challenges and invite friends to share the experience.

Think Inside the Box

Cross-training—breaking out of your norm—can be intimidating or may even seem pointless. But don't scoff: Changing things up, like trying CrossFit, not only gives your body new adaptation challenges, but it also forces you to rethink how you perform training tasks under the watchful eye of a coach or professional.

Finally Run, Ride or Swim With a Group

All those times you've said you'll do a group training session are finally about to come to fruition. Now's the perfect time to live up to your commitment. Get inspired through training with others at a time when it won't affect your pre-race programming.

Experiment With Pacing and Nutrition

The offseason is a great time to experiment with pacing and nutrition strategies. Smart eating and effort will pay off in your training—not just when you compete.

Focus on a Single Sport—but Don't Get Injured!

Training for single-sport efforts will improve the skills required specifically for them, give you challenging goals, offer an opportunity to train and compete with friends and avoid monotony when your first race of the season is still months away.

Pro Tip: When trying a new challenge, like a dedicated single-sport goal, remember that the purpose is to shake off boredom. So if you've never run a marathon or done a century ride, consider the training requirements and the suggested recovery times that come along with this new activity.

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