Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter-Training Superiority Over Fair-Weather Training

I would like to believe that I am an optimist, especially when it comes to triathlon. I have drive. I have motivation. I have no social life. See, I am a triathlete. I have read enough literature and made enough mistakes to be confident that I will improve from one season to the next. I enjoy almost everything about the sport. I like the competition. I like the challenge. I even like training. You know the old saying, "If you became a billionaire and didn't have to work for the rest of your life, what would you do with your time? Do that." Well, I would still be a triathlete, albeit a much faster one with a better bike. If anyone would like to give me a billion dollars to test this hypothesis, I will be a willing participant. You will be the Tester and I will be the Testee. I have no problem with that. Billions of dollars or not, I am a big fan of the sport and what it offers me.

When it comes to training, there are really 2 seasons, regardless of what the guy on the news tells you. There is Fair-Weather Training Season and Winter-Weather Training Season. Fair-Weather Training means that you probably won't die from exposure just by being out in the elements. Winter-Weather Training is, well, self-explanatory. It zaps everything positive in the world and condenses it like the snow that falls from the sky.

In case you didn't notice, I struggle with winter. Well, its not really winter that's the problem, it is more of a angst against the cold and the infernal white stuff that floats down from the sky, removing the color from the ground and erasing friction. I struggle with the knowledge that snow is water crystals that have formed around a kernel of pollution. It may look white and pure but in reality it's just all the spew of factories and machinery gift-wrapped and delivered to my neighborhood. Don't believe me? Then pay attention to how the snow looks in March and April when those large piles in the grocery store parking lot start to melt. I have a hard time being optimistic about a season which forces me to be inside for all of my biking.  I know, there's a few of you out there who won't let a little thing like unsafe conditions, howling winds, freezing temperatures, lack of sunlight, and bike corrosion stop your ride. I, however, do not recommend winter biking.

Since I race in the summer, I would prefer the most summer like conditions. Summer is nice. The angle of the Earth provides us with free light and abundant free heat. Our bodies make their own Vitamin D simply by allowing sunlight to touch our skin. Winter bundles me up in an ungodly amount of clothing just for a simple run. Summer garb does not include: tights, running pants, base layer shirt, turtle-neck, long-sleeved shirt, jacket, gloves, ear bands, extra socks, and special spikes on your shoes. Disgusting.

Now that I am a blogger, I have a new outlook on a variety of things. One of which is my attitude towards winter. Everything has its positives and negatives. I have been obsessed with the latter when comes to winter workouts and should be more former. So, during a recent run, I let my brain wander on the topic, giving me a distraction from the ice forming on my hair and the burning feeling encroaching my cheeks (take your pick). I was able to ignore the fact that my pace was reduced drastically whilst my heart rate was climbing. I placed the thought to the back of my mind that the cars to my right had a dry, well-paved road as opposed untreated ice rink recently called a side walk on which I was forced to jaunt. I became completely oblivious to the mounds of plow build-up blocking each drive and intersection allowing me to practice hurdles onto a seemingly pillow of white/ black ice. Nope, I had none of these thoughts.

I forced myself to analyze the light side of this dark and dismal run. My goal was to come up with the pros for winter running. I wanted to discover the positives. The motivation. The reasons that winter running, mile for mile, might actually be beneficial to fair-weather running. And it worked! It was as if the entire knowledge of the universe was focused into this single thought process. The Unifying Theory of the Universe, the single equation that explains everything known and unknown to man, suddenly made itself apparent. Einstein, Sagan, Greene, Hawking...Ha. If any of you would have tried running in the cold, you would have solved this problem ages ago.

As the thoughts started flowing, I had a fear that my thought parade might not actually conclude before the end of the run. I was concerned that a 6 miler at 7:45/mile pace (add in some time for the conditions and extra weight) might not be able to contain the entire process. I was nervous that the genius which was flowing from my gray matter might be cut short before reaching its destination. Was this theory to rule all theories to be relegated to my short-term memory cells and then discarded like running shoes after their 501st mile? To be honest, I was genuinely worried.

All of those thoughts were fleeting as evidenced by this post. I was able to complete my run, de-ice my garments and mane, thaw my skin, peel my layers, and shed my doubts. I refueled my calories and my desire to record and share with you, the Bantee (since I am the Banter), the wisdom that evolved from my run. After all that enlightening, run may not be the appropriate word. Perhaps 'zen while moving' would be more precise. I have discovered the light and can say, beyond all doubt, that not only am I a triathlete but now I am an optimist in regards to winter running.

So, to make a long story longer, I am ready to impart everything that you ever need know about winter running's superiority over summer training. It is unbelievably amazing and though you might not do it now, somewhere, deep in your heart in the future, you will thank me for this. If you are not a believer now, the light bulb will surely illuminate for you later in life and it will all come back to this moment. This is the monumental factor that will be emblazoned in your subconscious to apply itself at a time when you most desperately need it. Tomorrow, you will be a different person. At the very minimum, you will be an optimist. At most, you will be a ruler of your own personal kingdom and a deity in your mind. There will be no need to thank me. As an athlete, triathlete, teacher, and coach, I am happy to have made a difference in your life. That knowledge alone is thanks enough and I sleep well at night knowing that I have made an impact.

Here we go, summed up for you, the reasons why winter training is superior to fair-weather training. I have decided to put it in layman's terms as there are a few technical details and this is not a technical blog. If you wish to have a more detailed description, please comment. I will re-post with the details, but I promise, it won't be pretty. Where was I? Oh yeah, I was about to give you the knowledge. Brace yourself. I suggest you get something of a recording device. Write this down and post it for eternal viewing. I also think it's a good idea to sit down if you weren't already. If you have children, send them out of the room. The information is not dangerous, but I don't want them to see you cry when you realize the truth and the weight of the burden which I am ready to impart...

Reasons Winter Training is Superior to Fair-Weather Training

The season after this one will not be winter!

Any questions?


  1. This is funny. I'm so ready for the season after this one. And yet, I'll miss the looks of disbelief when people say, "You went out running/riding in this???"

  2. Kate- Thanks for following the Banter and commenting! I do enjoy knowing someone reads my post. I agree, I am SOOOOO ready for the season after this one.

  3. What is this white pollution based stuff of which you speak? My winter running, never involved hurdles or sidewalks that contain or are coated by anything out of the ordinary. Just yesterday I did a little run in a mild 60 degree day with the threat of a sprinkle that never materialized.

  4. Here's the thing Kenestral, most of us don't live near your place AKA paradise. I know, tough to believe, that snow is not just something seen on tv or sung about at Christmas. It is a real, evil presence that torments most of the American population. "Threat of a spinkle..." LMAO.