With the Calendar about to turn the page to December, there is no escaping it: winter is coming. Actually, it’s already here for a lot of us, and that means that we need to ramp up our training to carry us through to the warmer months of spring. Training in the coldest months of the year can be extremely challenging, and, quite frankly, I hate it. Seriously! I am the biggest wimp when it comes to the cold (just ask my wife). Fear not! Your friends at the Tuesday Ten have you covered.
This week we are linking up with our friends at MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for this week’s Free Form “Tuesdays On The Run” link up. So be sure to go check out their blogs this week to find out what they are talking about.
Layer It Up
It’s pretty common sense that it gets cold in the winter, so better bundle up. What tends to get overlooked, however, is that you will warm up as you get going (especially on longer runs). So dressing in layers is essential. I start with a skin tight base layer of running tights and a long sleeve running shirt. You want to be sure that the material is moisture wicking. Depending on how cold it is, I may add a sweatshirt and jogging pants, but I usually am able to get by with my running jacket and a pair of shorts. If I get too hot, the running jacket gets tied around my waist for easy access if I get cold again, or ditched to the side for me to pick up later.
Become Hot Headed
You definitely want to keep your head warm, or more importantly, your ears. Again, I tend to overheat when running in the winter, so I usually opt for just a headband to keep my ears warm. Also helps to keep my ear buds secure so that I don’t miss a minute of my favorite podcast. I do have a beanie for those really cold days, but I usually have to take it off at points and stuff it in a pocket. If you are really prone to arctic conditions, you may want to invest in a full face mask. Although, if it’s that cold out, you’re more likely to find me indoors enjoying a cocktail while binge watching something on Netflix. Who am I kidding? I’d be doing that anyway…
Don’t Forget the Hands
Like my head, my hands tend to overheat by being in gloves for too long. My outer running layers have longer sleeves with thumb holes to help protect my hands. If needed, I can just tuck them in to help control the temperature more. If I do need gloves, I tend to go with thinner ones. That way, they don’t sweat as much, and I don’t have to fumble around as much if I need to get my phone, or keys or whatever. Regardless of what type of glove you choose, you should get a pair that have the special fingers that allow you to use them with your smart phone.
Get a Grip
Running in icy conditions can be quite cumbersome, and downright dangerous. You will want to experiment with a different type of shoe with deeper treads. Something you would use for hiking. Another thing that I have recently acquired, but yet to try out, are running spikes. These simply slip over your current running shoe and transforms them into a set that will leave you much more sure-footed and ready to conquer the slipperiest of slopes (or so I’m told)! I’ll be sure to do up a review once I get a chance to use them, so stay tuned. Bonus: I just learned that “slipperiest” is an actual word!
Turn On The Lights
The winter months leave us with some of shortest days of the year, so you need to be prepared to run in the dark. All of my clothing has some sort of reflective aspects to them, but for added security, adding any sort of blinking lights will only help. I am adding a set of light up wraps for my shoes so I can be seen better. And they’re dual purpose: I can bring them to my next rave! Visibility in the dark can be difficult, so adding a head lamp can help you navigate your way around.
Don’t Forget The Water
It’s easy to forget to hydrate in the colder months because we don’t feel as hot as we do running in the summer. Bundled up in our winter gear we are actually sweating just as much, if not more, so it is essential to replenish those fluids just as quickly. I have used hydration belts in the past, and these work fine. My next experiment will be with a CamelBak backpack. All of those added materials on top of your heavier running clothing can make for a very bulky run, and confuse you with one of the Sherpas that help guide folks up Mt. Everest. For an easier time, try to plan a route that will pass a store every few miles or so. Not only does it allow you to hydrate without having to carry anything, it will give you a quick respite from the cold. Just don’t forget your money!
Make a Plan
It’s hard enough to stay motivated when it’s 70 degrees and sunny outside. Getting out of bed and moving on those really cold mornings is downright miserable. Create a plan and put it in writing. Schedule your workouts so you force yourself to stick to them. If it’s written down, you are holding yourself accountable, and more apt to actually go out and do them. It also makes it easier for the busier times of the winter, such as the holidays. God knows we need to be extra vigilant around those times where we are going to indulge, and especially imbibe, more than we are used to!
Don’t Fear The Treadmill
I am probably the biggest hater of treadmills on the planet. It never ceases to amaze me that I can go out and run a half marathon without much difficulty (well usually), yet a mere mile on a treadmill leaves me feeling like I’ve never run before in my life! This is a necessary evil in the winter months. Some days are just too cold, and here in New England, you can usually bank on periods of snow that will leave most roads impassable, and just unsafe to run through. The good thing about treadmills is you can vary the workout to meet your needs. Want more hill work? Raise that grade! Looking to get faster? Up that pace! They also offer plenty of pre-programed options to really mix it up and keep you on your toes, and hopefully keep you on target.
Sign Up For A Race
Nothing motivates me more than having a goal. You won’t find many races in the winter up here in the Northeast, but having one to shoot for beyond the winter months can really help you avoid a funk. So start perusing active.com to see what races will be in your area come the spring. Oh, and be sure to let us know here so we can try and plan on doing some of those races with you!
Take Your Run On Vacation
The winter months are a great opportunity to seek refuge to warmer climates, and recharge those batteries. If you have kids, these are also some of the only times you can actually vacation during the school year without fear of being blacklisted for taking your kids out of school. Regardless of your destination, be sure to plan on doing some workouts while you are there. Running on vacation allows you to really experience a new place. Some vacations allow some truly unique running experiences, and you may even be able to find a new race that you wouldn’t do normally. At the very least, most hotels offer some sort of a fitness center, so there really isn’t any excuse to miss your workouts.
What about you? What do you do to help get you through your winter runs? Be sure to let us know in the comments! As for me, I need to follow my own advice and get going! Thanks for reading, and have a joyful day!