Training for Summer Hiking Goals: 4 Keys to Motivating When It's Cold!

Kym Zest
Winter Training Summer Hiking Goals

If you love summer, winter can be really challenging. Gray, cold, all your favorite outdoor activities are harder or impossible… We’re in the thick of winter yet you’re already dreaming about next summer’s hikes. 

You know you’ll feel better if you stay active and train for those hiking goals through the winter. In my many years of coaching, these are the four keys that will unlock a better summer for you.

Embrace Change

Don’t try to replicate summer training. See this as an opportunity to do different things. You can take up winter activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, or even sledding!

Winter Training Sumer Hiking Backpacking Goals

It doesn’t have to be outdoor things either. Winter is an excellent time to work on fitness that will support your overall health and resilience. Some options are:

  • Improving ankle and hip mobility with an online program. 
  • Increasing stamina with pool swimming.
  • Developing speed and agility with team sport drills.
  • Learning new skills using different muscles with indoor rock climbing. 
  • Address minor lingering injuries with physical therapy.

Be Persistent

Winter Training Sumer Hiking Backpacking Goals

Change can feel weird. Don’t give up too quickly. It’s OK if you never really enjoy winter activities or training as much as you love summer stuff. Focus on finding a way to not hate it and hibernate. Give anything new at least two tries. Look for even tiny glimmers of fun. Make adjustments. Keep your summer goals sight as motivation to keep at it.

Spend Money

Winter Training Sumer Hiking Backpacking Goals

But not all your money. If your goals are important to you, be willing to budget some money to make the training possible. You don’t need to spend a fortune, and don’t buy things you won’t actually use. You can pay for a class, or a couple of personal training sessions, or buy an online program, but you don’t have to do all of these things at once. Similarly, it might not be a bad idea to drop a few dollars on some weights or other home equipment, but a complete home gym is far from required. And, don’t be afraid to get creative — canned food can double as a weight, and rain jackets offer far more warmth than you’d think, especially when insulating layers are worn below.  

Commit to Spring

Winter Training Sumer Hiking Backpacking Goals

Set up the earliest spring accountability challenge that you can. It could be a practice shakedown trip, or registering for a running race, or your longest day hike yet. Whatever you choose, commit to it by locking in the dates and telling or involving friends. It will keep procrastination at bay and light a fire underneath you. 

Summer will be here before you know it. This is the best time to focus on your fitness. Then you can charge into warmer-weather adventures feeling strong and resilient! 

Kym Zest ZestEd Endurance Coaching

Kym and Will are the owners of Zest Ed. Kym coaches you to achieve your outdoor goals with more meaning and longevity. She’s been a recreational endurance and adventure athlete from triathlons, to padding, to backpacking for over 20 years. When not racing or adventuring, they live in an old apartment in Minneapolis with their kitty Pigeon. They just welcomed their first child in to the world and are currently on parental leave adjusting to this new adventure. 

In the meanwhile, stay in touch with them by downloading your free "What's Next: The Life Cycle Of a Goal" to help you at every stage of your journey. Everyone who joins their email newsletter will get special coaching tips and opportunities in 2022. You can also follow them on Instagram @zest_ed_athletics  

Trail talk

1 comment



Great article Kym! Thank you for the tips, reminders, and motivation through GGG. Can’t wait to see what adventures the whole Zest family gets up to in 2022!

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