It can be difficult to stay motivated when it comes to winter running. When most people think of running in the cold, they generally think of wet feet, icy trails, and miserable miles, but we’re here to reassure you that cold weather running is totally doable for anyone — and might even turn into your favorite time of year to hit the road or trails.
If you love to run but live in a place where there’s frigid temperatures for part of the year, it’s important to take the proper precautions and plan ahead.
Read on for 10 tips that can make running in cold weather something you’ll enjoy rather than endure.
- Warm up inside before heading out.
Generating some heat in the large muscles of your legs gives you two benefits in one simple action. By engaging in a brief dynamic workout before you head out the door, you can reduce the risk of strains and even make the weather outside seem a little less frigid.
- Layer, layer, layer.
The old saying, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing,” is absolutely true when it comes to winter running. Choose a base layer of sweat-wicking technical fabric or merino wool, both of which help to keep your skin dry and warm. Add additional lightweight layers as the weather cools.
- Pay attention to the breathability of your outerwear.
Donning a waterproof outer layer might seem like a simple way to stay dry, but it’s important that your excess heat can escape. Choose an outer layer with a windproof front and a back that allows for ventilation when running in cold weather.
- Run shorter distances.
There’s no need to push yourself to cover the same distance as you do in fair weather. Temperatures can dip quickly, especially if you’re running as the sun goes down. Stay close to home and listen to your body.
- You will warm up!
When starting a cold-weather running regimen, stick with it. It takes longer to warm up, but we promise that you will. Once you get moving, you’ll feel the heat, and the more often you run in the cold, the easier it gets for your body to acclimate to freezing temps.
- Stick to a training plan.
A training plan is a terrific way to motivate yourself to get going when the going gets brisk. But pick a plan that can be customized to fit your current fitness, your mileage goals, and the falling temps — a generic plan can leave you out in the cold.
Custom Training Plans can personalize a plan for you that allows you to adapt to winter running while improving your speed and endurance. In addition to running workouts, our plans tell when to cross train and when to rest so your fitness makes steady progress. Running in cold weather can increase the risk of injury, so following one of our custom 5K training plans or custom 10K training plans is a smart strategy to keep you moving in the winter while reducing your risk of a muscle strain that keeps you out of action.
- Use a buff or running balm to protect your skin.
When temperatures fall below zero, the last thing you want is to come home with frostbite. Choose a high-quality buff that covers your nose and mouth and pick up some petroleum-based protection for your exposed skin.
- Don’t forget to hydrate.
During cold weather running, your body isn’t sending you the same signals as in the summer — namely, you’re not sweating. Remember to drink water and bring snacks that won’t freeze to provide yourself with the extra energy you need to stay moving and stay warm.
- Opt for mittens over gloves.
When your fingers can stay together, they’re able to stay warmer. Plus, it’s much easier to slip a hand warmer into mittens than into gloves.
- Plan to warm up as soon as you’re done with your run.
Your body’s metabolism drops as soon as you stop running, causing you to cool down rapidly. Once you’re done with your workout, get to a warm place ASAP, strip off any wet layers, and enjoy a hot shower.
Running in cold weather can be a rewarding activity. It’s a great way to raise your spirits and stay in shape. Whether you’re new to winter running or an old pro, stay motivated with a personalized plan that can be tailored to your cold-weather running needs. Pick up a running program from Custom Training Plans today and get out there!