Winter Running 101
With the first signs of winter starting to appear it can be a challenge to get in good training over the winter months. Temperature, ice, snow, and wind can all play a factor in how well our running will go day to day. However, getting out and braving the elements can be a great way to gain some mental strength. Check out these tips to stay safe and learn to enjoy the winter months.
One of the most difficult parts of running in the winter is icy conditions. Whether it is running on the trails or roads, ice makes having graceful strides nearly impossible. Having the right
shoes is essential to get a good grip on the slick terrain. There are many great winter running shoes out there that make pushing off slick surfaces more manageable. Another option is to add extra grip to your shoes such as yak tracks. Having good traction helps you maintain good form as you push off and not lose your stride on the ice. Balance is a skill that every runner can improve. So on your next winter run take that slick trail to practice navigating tough terrain.
The weather, the one thing we can all complain about together. Frigid temperatures during the winter is usually the reason we don’t get outside more often. However, a wise Norwegian once said “There is no such thing is bad weather, just bad clothing.” The first
parts of the body to get cold are the fingers and toes. Therefore, having warm socks and gloves are essential to winter running. Investing in a pair of quality socks and gloves that are built for warmth and are water proof will make staying warm during runs much easier. Another piece of staying warm is layers. As we run, we burn energy which creates heat in the body. Everyone’s internal temperature is a little different but in general dressing as if the temperature is 15 degrees warmer is a good place to start determining the amount of layers to wear. Wind and waterproof jackets are also great investments to keep your upper body warm and toasty. The hardest part is often getting warm at the beginning of the run. One idea to try is to do a quick 5 minute warm up of some body weight exercises to get the heart pumping and raise your body temp before braving the elements.
Winter terrain makes it tricky to hit specific paces and milage. It is better to think about training around a specific time or effort during your runs. It is also important to remember that your body is working hard to keep you warm on top of running so your heart rate and effort will likely be higher than normal. Some great ways to supplement winter running is to try out some other winter activities such as snow shoeing, fat biking, or nordic skiing. This allows you to get some different forms of movement while still enjoying the outdoors. There are plenty of great options to enjoy this time of year as runner. If you are feeling a little unmotivated this time of year check out the variety of winter running series, winter ultras, or even travel to a warm destination for an offseason race.
In summation, stay safe, stay warm and find some new motivation to make this offseason the best one yet!