Winter Workout Tips with Nick Butler

Winter Workout Tips with Nick Butler

Written by: Eleanor Hoath


Q1. How does your training change in the transition from Summer to Winter?

As the Winter Months are upon us, not only do we find it hard to get up and out in the morning, but our recovery can be a little more challenging too. From aching joints to the cold snap on your morning run - we chatted to Nick Butler to find out exactly what he does to keep the training going, all year round.

Training in general terms is based around consistency. When summer transitions to Winter often we fall off the wagon because of the wind, rain and chilly temps. I would say I train more in the winter than I do the summer for this very reason. In competing terms - this is where the bonus miles and hours are to be had. TOF - (time on feet) is a crucial part of training for endurance. Winter is about embracing the miles, keeping consistent and embarking on early dark miles pre dawn.

On the whole training in winter is more rough and ready - there’s more mental energy to get going. Having a training partner or a plan to stick to is essential through these months. The final bonus of winter is that there’s less distractions - no beach BBQs to attend or weddings or sunshine events - everyone hides away - this means more time to train. 

Focus on what you can control - the training miles. Bank the miles in the winter. Enjoy them in the summer.

"Focus on what you can control - the training miles. Bank the miles in the winter. Enjoy them in the summer."

Q2. What are your top tips for staying motivated in the colder months?

Motivation doesn’t necessarily change in the winter - in my experience it’s actually about the ease of excuses. ‘I can’t run because it’s too slippy and wet’ - ‘I can’t run to work because I’ll get soaked’ - or - ‘I’ll have another 5 minutes in bed because it’s dark and cold outside’


My top three tips for staying motivated in the winter are simple:

  1. Set a winter specific goal - 30 days of consecutive running pre dawn. This doesn’t eat into your life time - (because it’s before the sun comes up), and you can’t put it off till later in the day - because the goal is specific enough that you must do the miles in the dark pre sunrise. Specific goal setting.
  2. Allow yourself some comforts. You can stay motivated by realising it’s okay to relax and ease off the miles sometimes… perspective.
  3. A training partner or training plan - you must must have a pre determined plan with a reward. Let’s say you want to hit 100 miles in the month - don’t just set the goal - set the reward if you do, and a forfeit if you don’t. Aka if I do this I will allow myself a summer holiday - if I don’t I will forgo that holiday.

Q3. What helps you get out of bed for early morning runs in the dark?

Perspective. In a word - keeping one eye on the present moment and nurturing the appreciation of how lucky we are is key. Plus the best bit about winter is running cold and wet, only to come home to a warm shower and get back into bed for breakfast. Perspective and rewards. 

Q4. What are your top 3 recovery tips?

  1. Be consistent and aware of your sleep, stress, and nutrition. Recovery is much more than physical.
  2. Kineon - Without a doubt the best recovery tool for your physical health when run training is Kino’s red light therapy superpower - THE MOVE+. 15 minutes pre run, 15 minutes post run. (Or when you wake up or when you go to bed)… extra energy to your cells means a quick and easy boost to your recovery. It’s a no brainer. And you can still eat breakfast while it all works its magic.
  3. Tally your fitness accessories, stretching, and recovery time. Time blocking is good for many things. Often in the corporate world time blocking is used to manage time and tasks…. For training in sports, time block everything. Recovery minutes, time spent stretching, and the number of miles in your shoes. Keep one eye on the data - because data will not only help you understand you recovery fluctuations but it will also keep you motivated.

Q5. What's your next big event/adventure that you're training for?

My next big adventure: There’s a few. North to South of New Zealand is on the cards… as is a circumnavigation of Iceland. All takes plenty of planning and training. The most exciting at the moment though is that I’m going to take on some competitive one day ultra events again. Back to my roots - I’m craving some competition. Should be fun, will undoubtedly be painful but worth it.

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This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Healf