Friday, December 19, 2008

Training in Cold Weather

I was just in Lancaster, Calif. for the Development Academy Winter Showcase and it was a great experience for anyone that wants to be part of the pro track. This is one of the best avenues to be seen by the US Soccer staff, and it was great to head across the country where there was good weather for playing soccer.

For me and many other referees, we do not get to be in many climates that are ideal for training. How does a referee, who lives in a climate where 5 inches of snow is common, stay in shape is and get the most out of each workout? How do we make sure we are ready to go to warm and sunny places and be prepared to do our best work?

Here are some of the things that I do, and I hope they will help you all be ready for the next opportunity that comes to you. There is a lot that goes into a workout, and I cannot cover this all in one blog, but I want to share some more in other blogs to come. Here are some examples. Outdoor workouts in general and particularly in less then ideal weather conditions. Different workouts for utilizing soccer fields, tracks, aths, and road training. I will also cover things to think about for indoor workouts and how to maximize the use of indoor tracks, treadmills, ellipticals, bikes for cross training, intervals, distance training, sprints, and rest. I hope these will help you be fit and strong for the long soccer seasons.

The first subject I would like to talk about is the issue of working out in these not so ideal conditions. You have to be careful when the conditions are not safe running. The cold is one thing, but running when it is icy or snowing is another. You need be smart when you make the choice to move indoors from the preferred outdoor training.

Outdoors in the cold:

  • You need to get the body warm almost like it would be in a workout in warmer weather but you need to be careful. If you are a person who sweats a lot, the moisture may cause issues if you are not careful. You will need consider the following:
    • Cooling down will happen quicker in the cold
    • Chance of hypothermia
    • Chance of frost bite to exposed body parts
    • Most of the time you need to keep your work rate high and keep your recovery short
      • A short recovery is doable, but be careful on starts and stops
      • Doing the new interval fitness test is just enough time - try 30 seconds going hard with 35 second recovery (Long distance is usually is easier for this)
    • Sprints: be careful of footing on starts and stops I do not do these unless ground is clear. In another blog, I will tell you what I do to replace this.
  • Layers
    • You can take off if needed
    • Most of your body heat goes from your head. A good hat keeps you from losing this needed heat for the body
    • Gloves must protect the small fingers from frost bite
    • Dry-fit material: you start with this to do two things warmth and to pull the moister away from your skin
    • T-shirt levels with insulation that can be adjusted as needed
    • Sweat pants this to is an other layer of insulation
    • And the last should be a shell of some type to block wind and keep rain or snow off
  • Warm-up
    • Needs to be longer to make sure your muscle are ready to do the work
    • It needs to be a gradual build up
  • Recovery
    • Try to plan cool down so you are near indoors
    • Do not rush to rip your clothes off
    • Stretch while taking off articles in doors
  • Maximize your planning so you do not have to be in the conditions any longer then needed. Just setting up cones and taking them down for example
  • Effort - You only out of a workout what you put into it. If you only do half the work out or you only do it at low intensity when it is a high intensity day, do not expect to have the results you are suppose to.
I'll be back soon with more workout tips for staying shape in the offseason. Until then Happy Holidays to everybody reading the Official Take Blog!
- Terry Vaughn