We all know the feeling. The burning sensation in your lungs, tight leg muscles and frozen fingers that result from running in the cold. It’s easy to throw your sneakers on and run on a beautiful day, however, it takes that extra push when temperatures drop below forty degrees. This season can leave you feeling unmotivated and excuse filled if you don’t take the proper steps needed to prepare. Since I’m not the biggest fan of working out in these conditions, I included some helpful tips that encourage me below:
Proper Gear: This simple step can make a huge difference if you do it right. When running in the winter my ears, fingers and toes are the first parts that react to the cold. To prevent this, gear up with athletic gloves, ear warmers and thick socks. From there, find a long sleeve shirt or sweater and comfortable pants that wick moisture away and keep you warm. Make sure to do your research first before buying anything specific for the cold. You want to ensure the items you’re buying will stay dry and warm. Try Under Armour’s gloves, Lulumeon’s ear warmers or REI’s moisture wicking socks if you’re looking to build your wardrobe.
Start Slowly: If you’re anything like me, your lungs do not do well in the cold. Mine easily get tight and burn which leaves me very uncomfortable when running my normal route. Start by taking a shorter run on the cold days and work your way up to allow your lungs to adjust to the temperature. I also like to alternate on the really cold or icy days by running on the treadmill at my gym.
Join a Running Group: It can be difficult this time of year to motivate yourself to get out there and run. Try giving yourself a feeling of accountability by joining a running group this season. Having a circle of like-minded friends will help push you to get out there when you’re feeling like staying in. A planned scheduled also allows you to prepare mentally and pick out the proper outfits before your workout.
Sign up for a Race: Knowing you have a race coming up will give you the drive needed to train and prepare. This will also help you get into a routine when running and stick to a set schedule. Having this goal in the winter will also give you something to look forward to in the new and warmer season to come.