Posted On:
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coach Tip Tuesday: Don't Shut Yourself In

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A view of sunlight streaming onto a path covered in multi-color fallen leaves framed by trees engulfed in the colors of autumn.

Phew! It’s already time for Coach Tip Tuesday again!

The other day, one of the athletes who I worked for asked me if switching her planned pool swim to an open water swim would be an issue.  I wholeheartedly agreed with making this change, as this athlete is based in Upstate New York and has very few opportunities left this year to get in open water swims.

Her question made me think about how we are, in fact, on the cusp of another seasonal change, which, for many of us, means that how we train will be shifting within the next two months.  By Thanksgiving, the vast majority of us northern-based athletes will need to cease outdoor road riding on our bicycles, don additional layers of clothing and swap to different types of running shoes to be able to continue to run outdoors, and will be relegated to indoor pools until later next spring.

At this point in the year, it’s very easy to lose track of our late winter/early spring selves who are internally (and sometimes externally ;) ) whining about how we long for spring and the opportunity to experience the great outdoors.  Thus, my tip this week is this: embrace the opportunity to be outside as long as possible.  Don’t shut yourself in early; weather conditions will inevitably do that to you as it is.  Get outside, breathe some fresh air, and make some Vitamin D when you can.  Getting outside while you can will help you endure the long winter days when winds are howling and snow is piling up.

I talk a lot about how our training is like making deposits into a bank account, and that if we deposit consistently that we will get to cash a big, healthy check on race day.  This same philosophy applies to outdoor workouts; if we bank enough of them, we can “cash in” during the months when we can’t get outside, and we’ll have enough savings for us to endure. 

I personally experienced this in reverse when I was forced to take time off/stay inside for the better part of 18 months.  When I was cleared to go outside this past spring, it was literally a breath of fresh air, and for the first time ever, I feel that the summer was too short and that winter and my next round of inside time is approaching too fast.  I know I plan on banking in as many outdoor days as possible so I don’t catch cabin fever too soon.

Moral of the story? Embrace the opportunities that are available to you, and think long-range. Something that seems inconvenient today may just be the thing that you’re missing most in two months. Don’t shut yourselves in, my friends. Go experience this big, beautiful world that we live in. :)


Coach Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.

She can be reached at

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