Winter doesn't have to mean an end to outdoor exercise, but just how do runners train in the winter? You just need to adapt your routine and look at indoor activities to supplement.
Training as a runner is essential throughout the year. But you might wonder how to stay in shape when the weather isn't cooperating.
If you're one of the 33% of Americans who's experienced severe weather in the last two years, you might feel like you have to go months without running. Fortunately, that's not true.
Runners train in the winter by taking things slowly outside. They can train using a treadmill or focus on stretching and other exercise options. Have a look at our article on alternatives to running for a good cardio workout.
How Do Runners Train in the Winter? 6 Tips
If you're a runner or want to become one, you have to know how to train. Running in the warmer months is relatively easy since the weather is usually much more pleasant.
But it can get cold in winter, and snow and ice can make for challenging terrain. Luckily, you don't have to take multiple months off from running.
Give the following tips a try to continue with your training in the winter.
1. Get the Right Gear
Before you do anything else, invest in the right gear. You should get good running shoes and consider finding waterproof shoes if you'll be running in or around snow.
It also helps to get a second pair of good running shoes. You can rotate between them to get more use out of each pair. You'll also have a backup if the traction wears down too much on your main running shoes.
You should then buy a warm jacket, gloves, and a hat. It might also help to have hand warmers that you can put in your gloves. And even though it's winter, consider wearing a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the snow.
2. Check the Forecast
On your running days, check the forecast for your area. Then, you can determine if you feel safe running outside or if it might be too slippery.
For example, if it recently snowed, you may want to wait a day or two to go outside. Depending on your city, snow plows could take a couple of days to clear the roads and sidewalks.
You can also check the forecast to determine the warmest time of the day. Then, you might not have to wear as many layers for your run. Or you could choose to focus on indoor exercises for the day.
3. Start With Stretches
Regardless of your running plan for the day, do some stretches first. For one, this allows you to start your workout indoors. You can stretch in your outdoor clothes or before you put on your exterior layers.
Stretching can help you get your muscles moving. That can help you be more flexible when on your run, which is important regardless of the climate.
You can also use stretching to reduce the chances of an injury during your run. Be sure to stretch after the run to help wind down from the workout. Your heart rate can go down more slowly compared to not stretching at all.
4. Implement Strength Training
So, how do runners train in the winter? If you find there are days when you can't run, shift your focus to strength training. Runners can benefit from strength workouts in a few ways.
Like stretching, strength training can help resist injuries while running. You can take advantage of the cold to improve your strength indoors.
Then, when spring comes around, you'll have more time to do longer runs when it's nice out. And you can maintain your strength throughout the next running season.
5. Use a Treadmill
If you want to run but not outside, consider getting a treadmill to keep at home. Alternatively, you can join a gym with plenty of treadmills.
Then, you'll be able to run whenever you want or whenever the gym is open. Of course, having a treadmill at home is more convenient. You can also purchase a model with incline settings and other features to boost your workout.
A treadmill at the gym tends to be an ideal option if you're on a budget, and there are usually different treadmills to choose from. Have a look at our article on the benefits of treadmill running.
6. Develop a Post-Run Plan
After you finish running, especially outside, have a plan for how to get warm again. Of course, you can take a hot shower or bath when you get inside. Another option is to use a sauna, an excellent choice if available at your gym.
You can also drink warm tea or hot chocolate to help warm up. Either way, always have a plan for warming up after being out in the cold. And don't be afraid to cut your run short if you feel too cold.