If there's one thing I am not, it's a fair-weather runner. In fact, some of my favorite runs have happened during the winter, and my ideal training months are typically when most people are looking to begin hibernation.
But I'm aware not everyone shares my sentiment. (In fact, my friends are quick to let me know where they stand on the running-in-snow question.) For all those who may be feeling a little less than enthusiastic about cool-weather running, I tapped Corinne Fitzgerald, NSCA-CPT, RRCA Level 1, and running coach at Mile High Run Club.
This running coach shared four of her best tips for keeping spirits high and embracing all-weather workouts.
Invest in Gear
One of the main reasons for hesitation for running outside is obviously the weather. But, as Fitzgerald pointed out, having the correct gear for running in the cold can all but eliminate a lot of the discomfort. "Putting time, money, and effort into these choices will make you feel empowered and accountable," she said.
I turn to layers to keep me guarded against the elements. Lately, I've found that tossing on a wind-resistant option like the UA Run Insulate Hybrid Jacket ($100) is just what I need to keep wind, snow, and that brisk winter air from chilling me to the bone.
Start Your Runs Slow
"The body can take a little longer to warm up in freezing temperatures, so don't force it," Fitzgerald explained. "Slow it down and really listen to your body, allowing your muscles and lungs to adjust to the cold." Instead, she suggested giving yourself a little extra wiggle room when allocating time for your run. Rather than squeezing a 60-minute run into, well, 60 minutes, try shortening the run to 55 minutes to allow yourself to truly warm up, she suggested,
Get Moving Inside
"If you're cold before you even go out, you can imagine the body will take quite a bit of time to really heat up," Fitzgerald explained. To combat this uphill battle to warm up, Fitzgerald said to try dynamic stretches, squats, jumping jacks, and hip circles to get your blood moving before you go outside. "Extra points for breaking a sweat before you even get out the door," she said.
And there's no shame in planning a little reward. "If you're determined to run outside, at least have something to look forward to once you get indoors," she said. "A nice hot bath, a warm latte, a stretch in the shower can make the postrun endorphins flow a little easier."
Put It in Perspective
Of course, it's all about perspective with running. As Fitzgerald explained, running in harsh weather can make the good weather all the sweeter. "In running, and life, we have to take the good with the bad," she said. "Looking back on a consistent training log over the hard winter days can give you a sense of accomplishment and really make you feel like a badass. You are tough; you can do this. Be prepared, have a goal, stay focused, and enjoy the process!"