Training in winter can be hard. An early morning run in the cold, dark conditions can be very uninviting. And when the sun goes down, you don’t always feel like running at night after a long day at work. With the added issue of winter being the cold & flu season, it’s especially important to maintain good health. Being sick and feeling run down doesn’t do much for motivation and will hamper your ability to reach your goal.
So how do we stay well when we’re training in the winter? Here are my top tips for the lead up to this year’s Sydney Running Festival
Your daily serve of antioxidants
A healthy diet rich in antioxidants is paramount for wellbeing. Antioxidants help to support healthy immune function and can help prevent free radical damage that comes with exercise and training.
Choose foods such as pumpkin, sweet potato, parsley, capsicum, and kiwifruit – these are all in season now and are great sources of vitamin C, A & betacarotene. Raw nuts and seeds give us vitamin E and lean red meat, oysters, seafood and pumpkin seeds will provide a shot of zinc.
Are you getting enough protein?
Did you know that when you exercise, your daily requirement for protein increases? Good quality protein is a must as we need it for recovery. If you struggle to get enough protein during the day, a whey protein concentrate (WPC) that contains lactoferrin to support immunity is an easy way to top up your protein levels. When I’m time poor I’ll have a post-run breakfast smoothie with WPC, spirulina and antioxidant-rich berries.
Rest for recovery
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining immunity and getting out of bed to hit the pavement. Sleeping well supports immune cell activity helping to keep cold & flu at bay. Get to bed at the same time each night and try not to have a hot, stuffy and overheated bedroom.
Listening to your body is also key
If you are feeling the beginnings of a cold or flu, allow yourself to take a break. A few days off from training to recover will see you back on track more quickly and better placed to reach your goals. Pushing through when you’re not feeling well is more likely to leave you feeling run down and you’ll end up being sicker for longer.
How do you train well in winter?