It can be pretty brutal trying to motivate yourself to train through the colder, winter months. This is especially true if you live in a region that experiences heavy rain or even snow. These conditions can really hamper how far and how fast you’d like to run. At the end of the day, the key to all good training is preparation. However, low temperatures tend to lock up your body, causing stiff joints and tightened muscles. So, cold weather running requires special preparation. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Extend Your Warm-Up
If you’re used to rushing through your warm up in a few minutes, winter is the time to get far more diligent. Hit at least a 15-minute warm up inside before going outside and it will really help to loosen your muscles and joints. Not to mention raise your body temperature so that you don’t immediately freeze up. If you can’t warm-up inside first, be sure to wear a layer that’s easy to take off while running, like a light hoodie you can tie around your waist.
Consider the Treadmill
While this isn’t the most popular choice with people who prefer being outside on the road, learning to endure the treadmill definitely has some winter benefits. Many marathon runners will hit the bulk of their distance on the treadmill in the mornings and then run outside a bit later in the day when temperatures rise. Studies confirm that breaking a long run into two parts, within 6-8 hours of each other, will not negatively impact your training. However, make sure to alternate between broken and continuous runs wherever possible.
Try to think like a triathlete during winter. You absolutely need to get in your long runs to build endurance but also incorporate the benefits of cross-training. Try some pool running and swimming, maybe some cycling and even strength training. Strengthening your entire body through these kinds of activities will also go a long way in helping to prevent injuries when you’re on the road in summer.
Find Running Buddies
It’s no secret that the miles certainly go by quicker when you’ve got someone to talk with while you’re running. The buddy system is also perfect for keeping you showing up when it’s cold and dark outside. You can also join local running groups if you don’t have anyone who wants to run with you regularly. After all, hitting the road solo with your favourite playlist is all the motivation you need in summer. However, in winter, having people you’re accountable to can go a long way towards keeping you on track.