How many of you are afraid of running in the winter?? Scared that you might slip and hurt yourself? Or are you worried you will freeze in the frigid temperatures? Think that you will have a hard time breathing in the cold air? I used to think all of these AND I also used to assume that winter meant running indoors was the only option but when treadmill running got boring I quickly changed my mind! I even started training for races over the winter months (Around the Bay 30km in March and Ottawa Race Weekend in May) to help keep me motivated. I have been running year round now for over 3 years and in fact I like winter running better than running in the summer!!
For those of you who are still hesitant here are some tips to help you become better winter runners (and for all you hardcore winter runners feel free to offer some of your tips and suggestions to the first timers!)
1- Find a friend to run with-less chance you will wimp out and it is even more fun than running alone.
2- Experience the outdoors inexpensively-It is an amazing feeling to run in freshly fallen snow-it can be sublime-try it and you will know what I am talking about! Plus it is a lot cheaper than skiing!
3- Try shortening your stride or think ‘tall and fall’-hey this sounds a lot like ChiRunning! I am sure my friend Eric Collard would love to give you more information on this topic. With a shorter stride, your feet hit the ground with less angle, and consequently less pressure to slide out from under you (therefore no slipping!) so less chance for injury and you will have better running form running this way.
4- Dress warm-think LAYERS as you will warm up once you start running. Also make sure to cover your head, ears, neck and hands as well. Your feet will get cold and wet too so make sure you have good socks that are warm but wick away the moisture (acrylic, CoolMax or wool are best).
5- Wear sunglasses-The glare from snow can cause be hard on the eyes, so wear sunglasses (polarized lenses are best) to avoid this problem.
6- Stay hydrated-Despite the cold weather, you’ll still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your run
7- Make sure you warm up before you head out and don’t run too fast on really cold days-You are at higher risk for pulling a muscle in frigid temperatures so save your interval/sprint workouts for indoors or days that temperatures are milder.
8- Be visible-With there being less daylight in the winter wear reflective gear and wear bright colours when running in the snow during the day.
9- Protect your skin-You can still get a sunburn in the winter as the snow reflects the suns rays. Don’t forget to protect your lips too!
10- Choose a race to train for-this will help keep you motivated to train over the winter months (even better-choose a race somewhere warm and make it a holiday!)
So when the snow starts piling up (hopefully soon) you will have NO EXCUSE to not run. Let’s take advantage of our mild winter so far though and get as many runs in as you can!
Have a great weekend everyone! Another full weekend of yoga teacher training for me at Rama Lotus…and a special weekend for my boyfriend as he turns 28 on Saturday 🙂 Happy birthday Dave! Let the celebrations begin!