In warmer months, every holiday and community event is marked with a 5 or 10k race. We have the color runs, the mud runs, Ragnars, and the marathons. We have endless motivation to keep our heart rates up and legs in prime condition. But when the frigid air and dark hours of winter arrive, we may find the only event in our near future is a lone snowman shuffle. It's easy to let the running slide and the shopping and eating thrive. But, running throughout the winter can be just as fulfilling and exhilarating as any other season. By eliminating distractions, and excuses, you can enjoy running through the winter. Here are a few tips to make improving winter running:
-Get In Gear. This is extremely important. With the right gear you will minimize those little distractions that make cold running miserable. If your hands or ears get cold, invest in some good running gloves and a beanie. If you are running during dark hours, don't forget reflective gear and a light. And if you run with music, make sure your running tunes fire you up and if your earphones keep popping out or shifting, change earphones or manage your cord with something like a Bud Button. And men, this is one time when tights are totally acceptable (I still like to put shorts over them)!
- Choose a Goal and a Reward for reaching it. I am always more focused in my training when I have something to look forward to, whether that is an upcoming race, a time goal, or a completion reward like a new pair of shoes. The key to an effective goal or reward is to define it enough so that you can see how you will accomplish it and looking forward to see what may deter you from your goal and planning how to overcome the road blocks.
- Count and be Accountable. Once you have made your goal make yourself accountable. If you are motivated by numbers, record cumulative distances or time improvements. If you have friends that can totally get into your head, ask them to follow up with you. There are also several ways you can track your progress online, like Tribe Sports, 1000 Mile Challenge, or Fitbie.
So, drop the Winter/Cold Weather Excuse and get on the road. Running through the cold months not only gives you a front seat in the winter wonderland but it also gives you a huge advantage in those early spring races when everyone else is just starting back up.