From the outside, it might look like we runners just love to run no matter what. The dirty little secret that we all hold is that running isn’t always that enjoyable. When the cold winter months roll around, we too have that little voice inside that says “well maybe we should just skip it today”. But if you skip it today, what about tomorrow when the weather isn’t any better? If you are someone who lives in a cold weather region, you might need a little carrot at the end of your stick to make it worthwhile to strap on your running shoes and hit the cold chilly pavement. Try these seven ways to enjoy your winter runs.
As anyone who has ever headed out on the trail can attest to, there is a feeling that you get within the first mile you leave the house that indicates whether it is going to be a good run or a not-so-good one. Whatever it is that is cold will only get colder as you start to sweat and your temperature begins to heat up. Buy some new winter running gear like a snug jacket or a new hat that fits like a glove. You would be amazed at what an energy kick you can get when everything seems to be just right, and, in order, to make it the whole way in comfort.
Anyone who lives in a region where they calculate the wind chill factor knows that it isn’t a factor; it is how cold it feels no matter what the thermostat says. Running against the wind is difficult enough when it is warm. When it is frigid outside, running into the wind can feel like sheer torture. If you know that there is a stretch of your typical run where you have no shelter, avoid it and go another way. If the wind is rushing one way, go the opposite. It might seem like an insignificant change, but trust me, it can make a huge difference when it drops below zero, and the wind feels like ice on your skin.
To make your outdoor run more enjoyable, warm up your muscles before you hit the great outdoors. Running cold, when it is cold, can feel like stretching a rubber band out of the freezer. If you warm up and break a sweat before you go for a run, the cold weather won’t be so shocking, and your muscles will be more apt to hit it running, no pun intended.
When the weather outside is frightful, taking your mind off of running can help you to forget that running is more arduous than normal. If we want to be really honest, who hasn’t given up after the first mile and decided it was too miserable and headed home? If you run with a running buddy, they will keep you honest, and you, them. You are less likely to quit if you are entertained and not focusing on how much more difficult the cold winter weather is making it.
Sometimes you have to run when you have the chance. But when the weather is super miserable, you might have to rearrange things slightly to benefit from the weather warming. Instead of being hit with wintery weather right out of bed, wait for the day to heat up a little. Or if you are an after work runner and the sun has started to set, consider trying to etch out some time during your lunch break to hit the road. Just a ten-degree difference can make all the difference in the world when it is horrible outdoors.
When I run on super hot days, I think about drinking a Gatorade when I get home. I usually make sure that it is waiting in the refrigerator cold and tasty. Have a ritual waiting for you when you walk through the door on a cold winter day. Whether it is a cup of hot chocolate or a warm chai tea latte, having something waiting to warm your bones can be the bone that will guide you home. We all need to have that one thing that we treat ourselves to. When things get treacherous, and you are in the midst of it all, think of your warm seeping reward and a hot shower to rejuvenate and defrost.
If things outside are too cold or dangerous, it is never a good idea to muddle through it. No pain, no gain, is not an option when you are talking about ice and snow. If you hurt yourself or come down with a terrible cold, you are going to be out far longer than just the one or two days you wait for a cold spell to snap. If things are just too bad out, do yoga. Not only will it breathe new life into your exercise; it will stretch you out and help to strengthen your core, so that come warmer weather, you will be ready to hit it once again, safe, uninjured, and ready to go.
Winter time can really wreak havoc on your body. Even die-hard runners have to admit that hitting the cold pavement isn’t always what they want to do. To make things much less punishing when the weather turns super freezing try these seven great things to keep you moving forward. But if things get too intense out there, it is okay to sit it out for a day or two and work on some other exercise routines. For more great running articles and tips, check out World's Marathons today.