Friday, November 16, 2012

Winter Training Blues No More!

Winter can be detrimental to my training schedule. With the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, it suddenly gets easier to justify hitting the snooze button at 6 AM and missing my early morning run. This year I decided that will not happen. I am going to stick to a training schedule and work hard towards reaching my goals and keeping my base fitness level strong during the winter months so I can race strong come spring.

Here are my tips for running strong all winter long.
  • Join a running group that meets weekly or reach out to a running buddy and plan days each week you will run together. Knowing someone is counting on you will keep you accountable. It's easier to get out of bed in the morning or run through the winter rains, wind and snow when you know someone else is there with you. I have one girl I run with at 6 AM on Wednesday and Friday mornings and another girl I run with each Sunday. This ensures that even if I skip my runs by myself, I will at least get in three great great training runs.
  • Sign up for a winter race or holiday fun run. There are a lot of Turkey Trot runs on Thanksgiving and holiday themed runs over Christmas break that are great for keeping you on track with training through the winter months. I am running the California International Marathon Relay on December 2 and knowing that I have this race coming up has kept me on track with training. 
  • Buy yourself the correct gear for winter training. Gear can make all the difference in your comfort level during your run. One rule to follow is to dress for 20 degrees warmer than it is so that you won't get too hot when you get into your run. The majority of heat escapes from your head and feet, so proper gear is essential. I often go for a running headband to keep my ears warm on runs around 40 degrees. Anything lower and I wear a hat to keep me warm. Gloves are also my other essential. Keeping my hands warm can make all the difference for me.

  • Shoes are also key for a great run. Finding a shoe that is waterproof and breathable is essential so that you are prepared for any weather the winter may throw at you. I love the new Nike Shield shoes for keeping my feet warm and dry. Right now I only have trainers, but I may have to invest in some Nike Shield Lunar Glide 4's soon. With weatherized mesh and reflective elements, this shoe is perfect for keeping out the rain and offering reflectivity in low light. 

Winter running is never easy, but it makes me a stronger, faster runner and keeps me feeling strong all year long. Do you have any tips that make winter running easier? Feel free to share in the comments below.