When winter comes around, it’s appealing to stay indoors with a hot beverage and a warm blanket to protect yourself from the low temperatures.
At this time of year, the motivation to stay active and keep up with your running might be somewhat lacking. The cold and snow don’t seem like the best accompaniments for your usual run, but that doesn’t mean you should give up running for the entire season.
With a bit of planning and precaution, you can keep up your running even when the temperatures outside are sub-zero. Below are some tips on how you can make running in winter more enjoyable and fulfilling.
The last thing you want to do when you go out to run in winter is to expose yourself to the cold. Not only will it make your exercise uncomfortable, it also poses health risks, and you might end up with frostbite.
Dress appropriately for the winter weather from head to toe, covering every last inch of your skin. Start with a base layer of technical fabrics that cling to your body, then add a layer or two of lightweight sports clothing.
However, you should be careful not to put on too many layers that leave you excessively warm. If you do, you’ll end up overheating on your run and you’ll be forced to peel off some clothes.
It’s a good rule to dress as though it’s about 20 degrees warmer. That way, when you go out running and your body warms up, you won’t feel overdressed.
Go for waterproof fabrics that won’t absorb moisture and get heavy, leaving you cold and burdened.
Ensure to wear a thick beanie, mittens and earmuffs to protect your head, ears and hands from the cold, and make sure there’s no bare space left between your socks and running pants.
GET THE RIGHT SHOES
It’s crucial for your safety, comfort and performance that you get the right running shoes. This is the time of year when you should shelve your road running shoes and go for a good pair of trail running shoes.
Trail shoes are built to withstand the elements, and you can find a great pair with waterproof uppers. These will keep your feet dry, unlike regular running shoes with breathable uppers that can let in moisture from snow and sleet.
These shoes also have lugged soles that can dig into the snow for a proper grip, preventing you from slipping on the wet or icy surface.
Pair up your running shoes with a thick pair of socks to keep your feet warm and dry.
Before beginning your run in winter, you should warm up, but not as you always do during the rest of the year. Your body will take much longer to heat up due to the low temperatures, so you should extend your usual warm-up session.
If you usually warm up for about 5 minutes, it’s a good idea to triple that to 15 minutes during the winter. Adequate warm up will raise your body temperature so you’ll feel warmer once you venture outdoors.
OPT FOR AEROBIC EXERCISES
Sprints might not be the best running exercise to go for during winter. Since your heart rate is faster when it’s cold, it’s wise to keep your activities low impact to avoid excessive stress on your system.
Therefore, instead of engaging in intense activity spurts, take a long run at a comfortable pace. Don’t let it be too long though; a 30- to 60-minute run should be enough.
Running for longer periods in the winter weather poses risks such as compromising your immunity, so it’s best to keep it short.
JOIN A RACE
Sometimes all you need is a little motivation to put on your running shoes and leave the house. Signing up for a winter race will give you just the drive you need to go for a run every day, since you’ll need to prepare.
You can also join running groups for further motivation. When you have companions to hit the snowy trails with, you’ll find it all the more enjoyable, and you’ll be distracted from the frigid conditions around you.
Dress appropriately, go slow and steady and search for a little motivation to leave your warm house and face the cold.
With the right preparation and gear, you’ll be able to enjoy your winter runs and even, perhaps, look forward to them.