It’s that time of year again. Winter is approaching and the air is getting colder. Parkour is all fun and games in the warmth of summer, but the colder months can stop your progress. What is a traceur supposed to do?
If you are serious about your training, you can’t simply stop for months on end. Ask any professional traceur and they will tell you that they always train in the winter. It’s a must if you want to build your skills to a professional level.
This article will give you some tips for wintertime training. There is no excuse for stopping during this time of year. Let’s get to it.
Find a GymThis should be obvious to everyone. If you are lucky enough to live close to a Parkour gym, use it. These facilities have everything you need to train, and they’re warm. It’s a win-win.
Another alternative is a traditional gymnastics facility. This is far more common than a dedicated Parkour gym. Almost every town or city should have one. As a third option, try contacting your school to see if you can borrow the gymnasium for a few hours each week.
Training OutdoorsThere are many reasons why you might not have access to gym facilities: the gym might not be open, it’s too crowded, or you might live out of town with no gym in sight. The rest of this article will assume that you don’t have access to a gym for some reason, and will therefore be training outdoors.
Dress the PartThe first step to training outside in the winter is wearing the right clothes. It might be tempting to layer up as much as possible. That would be a mistake. You need to find the right balance of performance and warmth. Here are some tips:
Two Layers MaxThe best balance between warmth and mobility is usually about two layers of clothes. Try two pairs of sweatpants, t-shirts, or (light) sweaters. Anything heavier will restrict your movement.
Protect Your EarsYou can use a touque or earmuffs for this. Some people feel they sweat too much in a touque. Make sure you use something to protect your ears. Frostbite is painful and dangerous, and your ears are completely exposed without proper protection.
Choosing GlovesThis is another important decision. To start, as far as the winter is concerned, you need gloves. End of conversation. But choosing the right pair can be difficult. Big mittens will hurt your mobility, but thin gloves don’t protect your hands from the cold. One of the best options is a combination glove like this. It doubles as a fingerless pair or a full-on mitten depending on your needs.
Long SocksThis should be a no-brainer. You need to wear winter socks. None of that sports’ stuff that ends at your ankles. If you live somewhere cold you probably already have several pairs. They might look silly. Use them anyway.
Cold PainYou will probably notice that everything hurts a little more in the cold. This is normal, but uncomfortable. There are two things to remember in regards to this:
Keep Your Blood FlowingDuring a summertime session, it might be OK to take extended breaks. Not as much in the cold. Your body should be moving most of the time. This can be as simple as jumping around a little bit in-between runs. You can also jog on the spot for a while.
Whatever you choose is up to you. The key is making sure your body has plenty of blood flow at all times.
If you don’t have proper blood flow, your body cools down. Not only does this feel uncomfortable, it increases your chances of getting sick. Keep moving as much as you can!
Expect the PainEven if you keep your blood flowing, things will hurt a little more. There is no way around this. You are going to need to learn to expect it. Learn what your limits are. Finish your session if the pain is too much. There is always another day.
The more you train outdoors in the winter, the better you will understand your body. You will get a sense of what you can handle.
Use a BandanaWearing a bandana over your face is a great way to cut back on nostril pain. Like your ears, your nose is susceptible to significant pain in the cold. Mask your face like a ninja to avoid this.
Keeping DryThis is one of the most important parts of training in the winter. If you get soaked, you will get cold. This can make you sick and zap all of your energy. You need to make sure you are as dry as possible.
This starts with not layering up too much (mentioned above). However, keeping snow off you is a huge part of this as well.
How do I do that? It is not as hard as it sounds. Obviously, it is impossible to keep the snow off completely. What you should be doing is brushing it off as soon as you notice it sticking to your clothes.
If your sweatpants and shoes are covered, take some time to remove the snow. This will pay off huge in the end.
A Word on SafetySafety is paramount in Parkour at all times. It is even more of a concern in the winter. Ice makes surfaces less stable. You need to double your efforts to check your environment before training.
Even places you regularly train will be different in the winter. Take it slow in the beginning. Make sure you test your environment before doing any hard training. Treat all of your usual spots like they are new again. Examine each obstacle carefully.
The point of winter training is to continue your progression. Slipping on some ice and hurting yourself defeats the purpose.
The best traceurs keeps themselves safe at all times.
Now get out there!