Yes….Yes….it is that time where the race season is over and thoughts begin to move forward for next year’s challenges. However, you can’t just think, but you must do. In other words, training must commence and though winter officially starts December 21, I have started winter training. I have a great tool to help me through the winter as my wife purchased a trainer for me. I have used it a few times when the weather has been less than appealing. Boy…oh boy……I can only describe it in one word….SMOKED! This cosmic green contraption as you will see in the picture below delivers a punch that will only jump-start my level of performance for next year. I highly recommend the Kinetic trainers. One hour on this dude and I feel like I have climbed Flattop Mountain behind my house twice, which usually takes 1.5 hours to do one time, so in less than half the time I have achieved a total maximum workout.
On the other hand today was a beautiful day and I jumped on Cap 1 (my old Kona mountain bike) for an ascent of my favorite training ride up Flattop Mountain. This is a 3000ft ascent that pounds your legs into mince meat. I was treated to a clear and temperate day as I pedaled up the insane slants of the mountain. Lo and behold a freaking bear. I run into these jewels of Mama Nature fairly often, but I was thrown off as I was only 20 feet from this little black bear cub. He ran off down the slope and perched up on a fallen tree watching me pedal away. I’m sure he was wondering what the heck a numskull would be out trying to push himself up the mountain on a piece of metal tubing for, but oh well off I go wondering what the heck he is doing perched up on a fallen tree. As I summited and ran across a few deer that got spooked by my grinding of the cogs, I realized for the umpteenth time how awesome it is to get out and just ride even if it is up the face of a mountain. Now on my way down, guess what? Yes, I ran into the same bear cub again. Now if you know anything about bear cubs then you know mama is lurking nearby. On the way up I just didn’t care as my heart was already redlining, so I didn’t have much more adrenaline or any other hormones to excrete into my psyche. However, on the way down I’m just feeling the rhythm and letting gravity give me a one way ride to the boogie land. I eased down on my brakes and watched for a moment and all of a sudden he ran back down the slope and jumped up on his fallen tree. I unlocked my grip and said see ya and I’m sure he wanted to tell me enough is enough. A great day it was as you never know what you might run into up on the mountain.
Winter also affords one the time to do things differently in their training. I tend to do more weight training in the winter as well as running. Due to the nature of winter, you might be relegated to the inside for training on regular occurences. I also like to do what I call functional exercises. For example, moving wood piles around or carrying your buddy up a hill with intensity. These types of exercises hit areas that allow you to be more functional in everyday movements, but also engage those trained muscles to become more adaptable and purposeful. Shock and purge the system. Think outside of the box, any activity is good, but creative engagement can drive you towards achieving your goals with more punch. This is a great time to allow your routine training a break (parred down intensity and frequency) for healing and recovery, which in turn makes you stronger.