Winter running can be tough especially when it comes to braving cold temperatures. Those less than ideal conditions on the roads/trails can make it very difficult to find the motivation to get out the door. I struggle with this too but I’ve learned some helpful tricks to continue enjoying the great outdoors year-round.
Dress the part
Set yourself up for success with the proper apparel and equipment by planning ahead. If you run in the dark make sure you have reflective gear or a headlamp. When the weather is cold don’t forget a thermal hat, warm mittens, and extra layers. I suggest getting a Thermal Reversible Beanie from Headsweats, a moisture-wicking beanie designed for performance and warmth while not being super bulky on your head. You can always take off layers, but you can’t add any once you’re out the door.
Water is your friend
Make sure you’re hydrated properly. Even though it’s cold, our bodies are still working hard to keep us warm so we need extra fluids to function at optimal levels. The chilly temperature is already a shock to our muscles so they don’t need other forms of strain on them too.
Stretch it out
Like I said earlier, your muscles will be in shock because of the cold so be sure they’re a little loosened up. This can help you perform better and continue to excel in your training. Stretch before and after and help prevent injuries or soreness.
Mind-set going into any athletic endeavor is so important but this can’t be understated during this season. Think about what you might see if you step outside for your training. At times, the beauty of winter can be overlooked due to the cold but sometimes the prettiest sites can be found during this time. If you have a favorite site to hike to or favorite park to train in, think of what it might look like covered in snow! You won’t regret it. **Remember: If the road is icy, accept that your pace will be slower and be ok with it.
Headsweats talks more in-depth about mindset training in a previous blog if you’d like to learn more.
Don’t go it alone
There are so many communities out there filled with others working toward mutual goals. Join a running group, or find a work-out partner to help you stay accountable. This definitely makes training easier and more enjoyable. There’s strength in numbers.
Embrace the elements
This is what makes us so tough and proud to call ourselves athletes. Get out there and get it done and you’ll surely be proud that you did in the end.
At the end of the day, winter running isn’t terrible and there are a lot of positive sides to it. We just have to look on the bright side and remember we’re running in cold weather. Always remember this is just a season, and it won’t last.
Stay warm and stay active!