As the halfway mark on winter has passed, it struck me that it is really sad to think of winter training ending. While we are told to embrace the suck (and for a lot of athletes it really is the worst time of the year), somehow winter training has become the time of the year that I love to train the most. While summer training has many attractive qualities such as longer days, ocean swims and sunshine, winter seems to have something even more special.
Getting to know all the TA crew
In summer, short course and long course athletes tend to get a bit divided. Our events are on at different times and our goals are not aligned. Our training schedules don’t match so we don’t get to spend time with each other. In winter, we all go for our long rides on a Saturday. Sure we might not always be going the same distance, but we will see each other out there and feel that connection. Sunday long runs are for everyone and you find yourself having conversations with TA people you never had the opportunity to spend time with before.
Changing up your goals
Winter is the time to play with your training and mix things up a bit. Short course athletes can play with longer distances, complete a half marathon or join the long course athletes on their rides. Other people will spend some time in the gym building on their strength and some will take a slightly more relaxed attitude then they can over summer. The stakes are lower over winter and it’s a fun time to have a play with your goals.
Bonding through adversity
There is nothing like cycling in the Dandenongs when it’s so cold you can’t feel your hands to bring you together with your TA team. At the end of a ride like that you cannot help but feel a connection to the person riding next to you and feel like yes, we are all crazy to be riding in these conditions, but we are crazy together. There are so few people in the world who would want to spend their Saturdays doing this, yet we have found our people.
Over winter you might get lucky enough to have only six people in your swimming lane and on a Sunday run have lots of one on one time with your coach. You can learn so much in those sessions and have the time to ask questions that you normally wouldn’t get the chance to.
While summer will undoubtedly be amazing I for one am going to make the most of and thoroughly enjoy what is left of winter training.
~ Denise Houlihan ~