Winter time might be the most intense training time for vaulters: Improving compulsories, trying out new freestyle moves, finding a new freestyle theme and working on all details of the choreography to present it on time when competition season starts. And all that with usually hard weather conditions!
Cold, wind and rain make it difficult and sometimes unpleasant to train outside. But even if you can train indoors, it can be very cold. So make sure to follow our 5 tips to fight the cold and survive winter training!
- Increase warm-up time and intensity: Since your internal body temperature is lower, your muscles will need more time and more intensity to warm-up properly and to avoid injuries. Do a more dynamic warm-up to activate your blood flow and muscles and keep moving during the whole training session. During cold seasons, static stretching should be done after your horse training since it won’t help you to get and stay warm.
- Choose your clothes right: Choosing your clothes for winter training might be a difficult task. When you go leave home your winter jacket is too cold and you might become hypothermic, when you start training it is too hot and you might overheat. As a rule of thumb you can say that you should dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer to be more or less comfortable before, during and after training. Definitively dress in layers and don’t forget your gloves and headband, at least for the time you are not on the horse. Check out our latest Vault & Shop article to get some inspiration for your training outfit.
- Use hand warmers: What first gets cold are usually your hands and feet. One solution are adhesive hand and foot warmers. Reusable hand warmers are another great option for warming them up when resting or waiting for your turn. A simple chemical reaction heats them up when clicking the metal disk in the liquid. They can be easily carried in every training bag or pocket and they give at least first aid when it’s freezing cold.
- Fill up your glycogen stores (carbs) before exercising: During training in cold muscles will require more energy at a faster rate to stay warm, so they will fatigue faster. The more your muscles work the faster you glycogen stores diminish. Make sure to fill up your carbohydrate stores before training and eat some carbs, such as potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and so on.
- Watch your breathing: The colder the air, the greater the stimulus to the lungs and bronchi. If you can feel some kind of a burning or irritation when inhaling fresh air it is definitively too cold to train outside. Ensure that you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. That way the air needs more time to get to your lungs and consequently there is more time to moisten it and warm it up through the nasal mucosa.
Although it might cost you more effort to train in winter, there are even some benefits of training in cold weather conditions. Your cardiovascular system has to work harder circulating blood through the entire body, which will strengthen your heart and your whole immune system. Due to the fact that your body has to work harder, you will also burn more calories, so you will definitely fight off your winter gains by just keeping up your training. That’s another reason why people use to say that summer bodies are made in winter!
But remember, if it’s too cold, don’t train or be flexible and change your horse session into a gym session. Everybody has a different temperature sensitivity, listen to your body!
Do you have any other tips to fight against the cold? Share them with the Vaulting World in our Facebook group!