Friday, December 4, 2015

The Winter Running Blues



Winter is here. Although we have yet see snow in Kansas City, the cold temperatures and frosty ground are upon us. I am not sure about you but this is the time of year when I struggle to get out of bed in the morning to run, knowing that the temperature outside is going to be sub 30 degrees. 

But winter running doesn't have to mean a cut in your miles. There are some tips and tricks that can help you overcome those cold days.

1. Dress appropriately. Although you want to dress with more warm layers due to the chilly air, don't overdress. After a mile or two your heart rate will increase, you will start to sweat, and you will get too warm too quickly if you have too many layers on. You really don't need more than one layer of long sleeves until the temperature is lower than 40 degrees. I add a layer of long sleeves every 10 degrees after that. At freezing (32 degrees) you will want gloves for your fingers and a hat to cover your ears.
2. Try running later in the day. This is tricky if your work or family schedule isn't flexible, but it is usually a good 10 or more degrees warmer later in the day. If you can, try running in the early afternoon or early evening.
3. Stay hydrated. Even though you are out in the cold, you will still sweat. You will need to replenish your fluids just like you would on a warm day.
4. Be mindful of your steps. Choose shoes that have grips; you can even buy not so attractive grippers that you can adhere to your running shoes if you like. The grass, road and sidewalks are much more slippery so a fall will be more apt to happen and if it does, the ground is now frozen so the landing will hurt more.
5. Stay positive. When you do get out there to run, appreciate the little things. Look for the gleaming reflection of the sun on icicles, try to admire a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, or even take a few moments to simply count the bird nests that are now visible with the disappearance of leaves from the trees. It may be cold outside, but it is still beautiful out there too.

So there you have it. If you do slack on a few runs due to the colder weather, don't be too hard on yourself. Winter season is a downtime for most runners and there aren't as many races to register for anyway. Don't give up; just get back out there as soon as you can.

What do you do to stay motivated in the winter to run? What tips or tricks do you have? Comment below, I'd love to read your ideas!