As winter rolls in, so does many runners’ training routine. But not you, because you know that it is another opportunity to up your running game.
As the trails or roads become covered in snow, as ice and cold attempt to keep you bundled up indoors throughout the season, refuse to cower and accept defeat.
No doubt, the paths will become trickier, and you may see your warm breath in the cold, but for starters, see it as training becoming only more demanding and not impossible. You need it back- your motivation, which may have been zapped by the reduced daylight.
Winter can be an advantage to you, and it can get more comfortable if you have something putting you through. Consistency is very essential. Even though you may not exercise with the same frequency and intensity, being consistent during the winter may help you become a better and stronger runner when the racing season resumes.
Do not pamper yourself, you may not be able to go all out as you usually would, but mild running in the cold can help develop your aerobic fitness.
Whether Off-season or Not
The off-season is a short break from a few weeks to a few months of minimal training load. Many athletes can still maintain their fitness and skill levels for up to two weeks of not training, after which there will be a steady decline. It makes logical sense to choose winter as an off-season for runners because of the unfavorable conditions it poses.
If you’re an athlete, this deliberate rest is good for you to help reduce the accumulated stress of power training during your sport’s season. Still, you don’t want a few months to go by, and you’re lagging in your records. The most disciplined athletes don’t go easy on themselves, and they see every obstacle as an opportunity to improve like the winter season.
For those who are regular runners, who do it to stay fit, as a hobby, or deliberately for health reasons, you can either improve or decline in your fitness status this winter. You can get yourself ready for aggressive training in the spring this winter, but you do not have to follow a rigid routine.
Training in the snow is hard; you just have to get in some key elements of your exercise that you perhaps like doing but will develop your fitness and flexibility, nothing rigid. These tips can help you stay on track through the winter.
Run at least four times consistently every week
Like we have already established, you do not want to lose form during this period. Training less than four times a week may mean you’re just maintaining a fairly steady, but very slow decline. If you don’t want your aerobics suffering at all this winter, do six times a week, and you’d be surprised how you’d be doing by spring. Still, four times a week is enough if you are consistent.
Run for at least 30 minutes on every exercise day
Go slower, not faster, and your hardest intensities, this should be your aim. This should go on for the ten to twelve weeks that the winds of winter will persist.
Include other types of exercises in your training
If the only thing you do is run, this is the time to find a new type of exercise. Try a little of every exercise you know both indoor and outdoor to see what works best. Swimming, boot camp, cross country skis, biking, or scheduling a session at the gym all help to improve your overall fitness and athleticism.
The treadmill run
It can be boring if you have to do it every day. However, the treadmill might very well be what’s going to save your training this winter. Since the roads outdoors are wet, icy, or snow full, the treadmill is where you get a true feeling of your current fitness level.
Related Article: Winter Treadmill Workouts
Try running uphill
Nothing builds your endurance and strength at the same time, like running up a hill. Your focus should be on your form as you climb at a relaxed pace.
Don’t be afraid to take walks
Walking in the snow as you know can be breathtaking. Try going a distance in proper clothing, explore a new park, and take in the sites a little bit more.
Work on your mobility
What the cold does is that it typically reduces your mobility; hence, you have the opportunity to focus on this aspect and build speed and strength even in restraining conditions. Focusing on the apparent weakness you have in the cold weather will result in an advantage for you later, so while you’re going slow on some days, you’re going your fastest on other days.
You have time for strength training
Since it is cold outside, you will be indoors most of the time. Take advantage of this and work on some resistance routines that will keep you warm.
Find run groups or training partners to keep you motivated.
Running with someone else can be another reason to get up from your bed on a cold morning. It can be fun interacting while running in a group or with someone. For those who run solo, a running buddy during winter can be encouraging, at least for reasons of accountability. The interesting thing about running with a buddy is that you both keep each other going. A running partner can also be good motivation if you love competition. You will be surprised how far you’d go because you have a competent partner.
So no more excuses for not being able to train during the winter months. You can follow the tips above to stay fit and healthy under cold weather conditions.
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