Running outside in winter? Are you crazy? Although cold weather and the holidays can really play havoc on your running regimen, winter is one of the best seasons to be a runner. The weather is cool, the path isn’t crowded, and the running outfits are adorable! It’s easier than you think. All you need are a few key strategies and a firm running goal, and you’ll be running in any kind of weather.
Set a Specific Goal There is nothing more motivating than to train for a race or specific goal. Runner’s World has a number of titles to help you plan your first 5K, half marathon, or reach your desired number of miles every month. You’ll have instant motivation in knowing you have to train for the race or hit your target mileage. Reward yourself when you reach your goals, then set another one.
Run with a Buddy or Group Make your workouts safe and social. You’ll have a built in motivational resource, a friend to chat with along the way, and it’s safer to run in numbers. Running with others (or pets) is a great way to beat the winter doldrums. If that’s not enough motivation, reward yourself with a fun race destination like Florida, California, or anywhere warm. Alexandra Heminsley’s book,Running Like a Girl, provides useful insight to the value of support when integrating running as a part of your life.
Accessorize Having the right apparel makes all the difference in any athlete’s world. Layering is the key to avoiding over- or under-dressing. Consider wearing a layer that blocks the wind; pants, tights, and tops that wick the moisture away from your skin; and, for the coldest days, a mid-layer that fits more loosely (like fleece) that insulates and moves the moisture from your base layer away from your skin. Your winter running wardrobe should include a running jacket, hat or headband, gloves, tights, and a few long-sleeve shirts. Your body temperature increases as you run, so you don’t need many layers in most winter conditions.
Take Extra Time To Warm Up Your body will warm up more slowly in cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Take at least five minutes to walk briskly before you start to run. It may take 10 – 15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo. Take a hot shower to get your circulation going or put your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes and then, head out for your run. Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running is packed with tips to make your run an injury-free and pleasurable journey.
Keep it Fun Mix up your route, run through the neighborhood, or run a fun race such as The Ugly Sweater Run. There are tons of great wintertime running events that will get you outside and enjoying winter rather cursing it.