Since I haven’t been outside running I’m a little late giving out winter running tips! But here are nine tips every runner should know:
- Be Careful! Running in any extreme can be dangerous. Make sure you are properly dressed for the weather and distance of your run. For longer runs consider carrying extra supplies (dry socks, extra gloves, extra gel packets).
- Cross-Train Winter is the perfect time to step back and re-focus your energies, it is also a great time to add strength training and/or cross training to your schedule. Unless you are planning an early spring race, this can be a great way to maintain your cardio fitness while letting your legs heal and get ready for next year. My cross-training includes the elliptical machine and cycling, I’ve also started swimming, rowing, and stair climbing. Cross-country skiing is also an excellent cross-training method if you have that much snow!
- Cover-up If you are running outside and the wind-chill drops make sure that you don’t have any exposed skin, you can also use vaseline to cover your face if you need to. Make sure you wear chapstick and sunglasses. If it is really sunny you may need sunscreen!
- Stay Hydrated Hydration is still important in the winter, even if you think your sweat rate decreases. You may be wearing a wicking layer and that may trick you. Also during colder weather your mind may not want as much water, even if your body needs it. If your skin is dry and chapped, think about the inside of your body and drink more!
- Fall Gracefully With winter comes ice and slippery conditions, be careful. I’ve never worn spikes or claws over my shoes, but even those aren’t 100% guaranteed to keep you standing! We are all bound to fall at some point so try to protect your head and face by tucking in your chin. Try to land on your butt or the side of your body if possible. Try not to make any one part of your body absorb most of the impact, you could break a wrist or damage your knees.
- Stay Motivated It can be hard to keep motivated during these depressing months. Plan ahead for next year, setting goals, and enjoy the freedom of not following a structured plan or make a structured plan depending on your needs. Explore new routes or run with different groups of people.
- Snuggle Up Take some extra time to read a running-related book or do some research on the Internet. Winter is a good time to grab a book off the shelf and read or spend some extra time on the Internet checking out running sites.
- Watch Out Be aware of the conditions you are running in and watch out for traffic! Remember that it will not be as easy for cars to stop or move around you. You may also need to be aware of sliding cars coming at you. You also need to watch out if you are indoors, be aware of others around you and your running form.
- Eat Healthy I know this is the worst time of year to try and eat healthy! But as you switch to cross-training and take more time off, the calories really begin to add up! I’ve talked to a lot of people who have gained weight already. Runner’s World has provided a good list of ways to stay fit and trim and actually lose weight during the holiday season. It mostly comes down to being disciplined in your eating habits and not gorging yourself!
Bonus: Joe over at Run with Perseverance has developed a Winter Weather Temperature Chart (Excel Spreadsheet) which describes which items of clothing you should wear at 2 degree increments in the winter. This is a great system which can be modified to meet your specific running needs. I found it may be a little overdressed for my personal tastes.
Some of my inspiration came from these sources:
Today was a lifting day! This is the first I’ve lifted since early spring and I can definitely feel it! My thought has always been to cross train MWF and lift on TR. It was nice to actually get the chance to do it! Today was upper body workouts which included bench, curls, dips, hanging leg raises, and shoulder press. No cardio!