Tips for knowing when to get your bum out the door without making excuses that it’s too COLD! & knowing when to run on the dread-mill or XT inside.
I know that winter weather is now officially upon us, especially the southern states.. like here in Birmingham, Alabama “the beautiful”! *as all of the northerners LOL at us shutting down the day with a light sleeting & promised dust of snow this evening* Freezing temperatures & brisk winds can discourage even the most dedicated athlete from suiting up and stepping outside.
So, how do I manage to keep my training schedule in tact this winter? How can I decide whether to train outside or stay indoors without being too soft??
First, let’s list a few common barriers to getting outside during the colder months:
- It’s too early/I’m too tired..ZZZzzzz
- It’s too dark!
- It’s too cold
- It’s snowing!!
- I don’t know what to wear..
If you’re laying in bed and hit the snooze a few times like I do in the morning and you feel too tired to get up and get out, here’s a few tips I remind myself:
- Don’t think about how tired you feel, think about whatever workout/run you have to do. That tired feeling will go away in a few minutes after you start moving anyways.
- You gotta get it done, so you might as well go ahead, get up and get dressed!
- It helps to lay out what you’ll wear for the run the night before. I always look at the weather the night before and have my outfit laid out by my bed so when I wake up, I don’t have to think too much. I just get up and get dressed.
- Sometimes, I like to take a warm shower in the morning after I wake up, especially if I have stiff/achy muscles. It helps wake me up, warm my muscles up and gets my blood flowing quickly.
- You don’t have to wake up early to get your run done but it does increase the chance of you actually doing it, in case anything comes up later in the day..like SNOW. For example today-I had a 10 mile progression run. I had to be at work at 11am. Snow was in the forecast for the afternoon and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it in the PM. So that made my decision a lot easier and kind of forced me out the door in the morning.
It’s too dark, I can’t see..now what?!
- Even in the morning before 6am, the dark of winter can make us feel a little unmotivated and less like lacing up. Make sure you have a headlamp or some sort or reflective material. Worst case- use your iphone flashlight! This is so you can SEE and be SEEN while you’re out there grinding early before you start your day or maybe after work squeezing in a run as the sun sets. You can find reasonably priced headlamps at your local run store or REI(I think that’s where I got mine)
- If you choose to get it done in the PM or sleep in a little, I’ve had the best runs in late morning-afternoon times(around 11am-3:30 or 4pm.) It’s darker in the winter and the sun sets earlier. If you start your run before 4PM or before the sun sets for you, you’re good to go! Also, the temperature is going to be the warmest it will be during the day around these times. Your body will be more relaxed and ready to perform.
It’s too cold!!! I’m Freezing!
Alright, everyone’s perception of what “cold” actually feels like depends on where you live. If you’re like New Balance pro- Jenny Simpson..she runs in a freaking blizzard of 8 degrees with no hitch in her step. Some of us in the south can be a bit more sensitive to cold temps and won’t go outside even in 30 degrees!
In my opinion- you can definitely RUN in the snow and freezing temperatures. You just need to be smart about it and use some common sense.
- I won’t run in the freezing cold if: all the routes I can run are ICY/FROZEN and there’s no chance of me getting my mileage in without slipping every two feet(don’t risk it! pack it up and hit the treadmill or elliptical). OR if it’s an absolute downpour and below 45ish degrees, I don’t want hypothermia or pneumonia. use your own reasonable judgement here.
- LAYER. Always layer clothing. Depending on the temperature, make sure you start with layers: undies,sport bra(ladies),thin tank/short or long sleeve shirt, another thin layer shirt(dry fit is best), zip jacket or pull over, vest, gloves, ear warmer/headband or wrap, thick or compression SOCKS, shorts or half tights, longer tights or sweats. & I have this neck wrap I got at REI that I pull over my ears, nose and mouth during runs below 30 degrees or snow.
- Your body will warm up as you start moving but it’s crucial to keep your core and head warm. You loose heat mostly through your head and extremities too and you can always shed layers as you warm up. It’s better to be too warm at first than get frost bite or worse.
- Like I said, COLD depends on where you live and how safe conditions are. Stay close to home or repeat loops if you have to if you’re worried about safety. You can always cut it short if you have to or go inside and XT(cross train) instead.
- The biggest thing with the cold is- Winter is cold, accept it. Training is hard in the cold. You won’t always be PUMPED to go get the work done but you owe it to yourself and whatever your goals are to stay committed. Don’t look at what other people are doing or not doing.
- Also-HYDRATE!!! Many of us forget that it’s so important to drink lots of H20 in the winter too and not just in summer months. It’s super easy to get dehydrated because everything is pretty dry-especially your skin. & Muscles function best with WATER unless you wanna pull something!
This article from #Runner’sWorld is spot on about Winter Training and gives some great tips as well-Winter Advisory!
“Boo freak-a-dee-hooo, I’m COLDD..”
Don’t be a pansy or give up just because you’re uncomfortable for a short amount of time in the cold. Think about your goals, are they worth grinding through the day for a few hours or less in the cold?
Stay true to your training. Every season has it’s ups and downs with weather and inconvenient circumstances happen. But unless the weather is detrimental to your health, NOT your motivation or will to get out the door..get out there and don’t blink! You will feel better and proud of yourself for sticking with your training in the long run. Winter Training makes you tougher and able to handle just about anything in the future being uncomfortable for just a bit.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” -1 Peter 5:10
That verse was the WOTD on my Bible app Wednesday before I stepped onto the track to start my 15X400m reps. No, I didn’t feel like doing it. The back stretch was allll WIND against me and it was about 29 degrees when I started my session. But I just focused on my objective, what it was I was there to accomplish. Always focus on what you’re doing and your purpose and why. Then you’ll not be discouraged or give in to giving up!
Have FUN & be SAFE this Winter<3 Use your brain and trust your training.