Not HIITing It


Every Winter I go through the same routine, unless I’m training for a mid Winter half: I figure I’m not training for anything, so it’s time to really hit the strength training. Often after months of ST taking a back seat to running.

Fairytales and Fitness


These weights will get used the normal amount

Not giving up on ST, but . . .
Not this year. I am strength training, yes, because use it or lose it — those muscles will shrink and you’ll get weaker every year if you don’t keep strength training. It’s important!

Winter isn’t the time to go hard. We are hard wired to want to go inside and rest and recover during the short, snowy (for us!) Winter days. Even though our electricity means we can work out 24/7, it’s still not what our bodies need. I found an interesting read on the hibernation habits of some humans here.

I have been using a lot of Pahla Bowers’ Workouts for Women over 50 (but any age can benefit) found on her Youtube channel here. I’ve followed her for many years, but I love that recently she’s begun to showcase many workouts with cardio and weights — but no jumping. Trust me, you’ll still get a good workout!

I run, and I usually do at least long run a week, and another run that’s speed work or hill repeats. Maintaining my fitness base overall.

I’ll bet you’ve indulged in a few cookies, too

It’s ok to pack on a few pounds
I’m not giving you permission to chow down at every holiday party.  I recently read an article (which alas, I cannot find),  that said yes, we’re hard wired to want to eat more during Winter. It goes back thousands of years to when food was scarce during Winter.

We crave comfort foods: high fat, high sugar, carbs — all foods that can insulate us and give us energy. Deny yourself the foods your body is sure you need, and chances are instead of losing weight, you’ll struggle even more. You can read more about why we may gain weight during Winter — and reasonable things to do about it — here.

What’s a health-minded person to do in Winter?
Does that mean I’m throwing in the towel on maintaining a healthy weight during the Winter? Heck, no! Just as I’m not going to throw in the towel on running during Winter, because I don’t want to have to start over with C25K, neither am I just throwing up my hands & saying what’s the point of eating healthy if my body is just going to fight me anyway?

It’s natural to gain a little bit. Just keep an eye on it and make sure a little bit doesn’t turn into permission to #eatallthefood. Accept that you may be a little fluffier in Winter (what are cozy sweaters for, anyway?), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to move that fluffier body.

This Winter I’m trying to give in a little. To accept that I’ll be up a few pounds, but to make sure I don’t turn a blind eye about how my clothes are fitting. To continue to move my body, but take it just a little easier on it so that I get a true off season. To try to work with my body and the natural rhythms of the season, instead of fighting nature.

When Spring comes, I’ll be ready to get out there and go hard again after a Winter of semi-hibernation!

To everything there is a season.
— Ecclesiastes 

Do you change your healthy lifestyle with the seasons?

Are you enjoying an off season now?

Does Winter send you running for the comfort food?

21 thoughts on “Not HIITing It

  1. Very good points, Judy. It’s good to be relaxed about food, weight and the amount of training we do. And it’s good to take a break now and then. I would do exactly the same if I were in your position.
    In my case, I have been on a forced break (Achilles) from running and I’m only getting back to it now. In addition to that, I’m currently in Florida, so no fuzzy winter feelings here. With these two factors combined, I am roaring to get out and run and get rid of all that bottled up energy.
    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll notice I did say up North. 🙂 For those in the south, it’s racing season! I lived in TX a long time, so I get it (although I wasn’t a runner back then).

      For many it’s not easy to be relaxed around food & weight — I’ve struggled with my weight almost my entire life. I used to be 40 lbs heavier — and have lost that much multiple times throughout my life.

      I hope your return to running/racing goes great!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ever since I started running halfs, I’ve never had a problem or an off season. With a half in Jan feb and or March, you just do it.

    Now with an injury that is different. When I can’t run I lose my appetite. No exercise or depressed. Who knows.

    I actually lost weight sitting in my butt for 5 mos when I brought my ankle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of people eat when they’re depressed, so consider yourself lucky that’s not one of your vices. I can usually maintain my weight when I’m sick & unable to exercise, but it’s because I’m very careful.

      An off season isn’t a problem. It’s a good thing. Especially as we get older. Hopefully this is just a very short off season for you.


      1. I would argue that an off season is still good. You don’t stop running, but you stop racing (or training hard, depends on the person). Just as it takes longer to recover as we age, it’s also important to have times when we’re not running as hard & therefore recovering from hard effort.


    1. This time of year is really, really tough. At least the days will start getting longer soon (even if the snow will probably fly more often up here as it does).

      You have definitely kept yourself active even without running — that’s what it’s all about.


  3. It’s a very tough time of year for sure. Personally I’ve been in a running “off season” since spring. I runfess I miss the calorie burn of marathon training.That said, I’m in no hurry to signup for another one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heck, I’ve been in an off season since like last March . . . I hear you on missing the burn of more miles. I would have liked to do another half this year, but the stars didn’t align. Don’t really want to train through winter. Probably a summer half next year.


  4. So my hubby and I were having an argument about whether it’s natural to gain a few pounds over the winter. He said yes, I said no. Unfortunately, now I find out he is right. I should have known! 🙂

    I will have to check out the Youtube channel. I do Body Pump at our local rec, but it would be nice to have something I could do here at home too. Bill has a set of weights I could use. Thanks for the recommendation.


    1. I’m chuckling at your thinking it’s too cold to run outside in VA in Winter, I can’t help it. I know it does get cold, and I know you get to see a lot of different places that get cold! But I could definitely get into a southern winter again. 🙂


  5. My main off-season change is I scale back my running mileage. I’m not really into “building strength,” but I do strength train weekly to maintain what I’ve got. Since I’ve discovered the fun (and numerous benefits) of HIIT, I ramp that up a bit. I usually do the Fight for Air Climb in the spring, so winter is a perfect time to “play on the stairs” more often 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a challenge to fit it all in lately. But I do like to work a bit more on adding some muscle and dialing down running in winter — unless I’m training something, which I only do every few years or so because while I like getting away someplace warm, all the training through winter is really hard!


  6. This year, I’ve run the lowest mileage in years. Partly due to that prolonged illness flare, I just couldn’t. I’m actually ok with it as I’ve turned my focus more to maintenance of fitness and strength training. I like the balance. So does my body! I’d still like to do a few long distance races next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t track year.y mileage. I’ll probably look at it eventually just cause everyone talks about it, but it’s never mattered to me. Or monthly, for that fact.

      Even with no illness, I think most of us really do need to change things up as we get older. The people who just cling to what they’ve always done are so much more likely to get sick or injured, and probably aren’t enjoying it as much because they’re just fighting their bodies.


  7. That article is very interesting! Last year I did suffer from a mild form of SAD…I had no idea what it was until my coach suggested that could be what I’m going through! Last year I worked long hours in retail so it was dark all the time when I was going to work/getting off work and also when I was running. I wasn’t getting enough Vitamin D, so I started to take supplements and that helped a little. This year it’s a little better because I work mostly outside so I do get exposure to the daylight a lot, even though we have shorter days. But I enjoy winter running for the most part because it’s the best weather of the year here in Florida!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s