Cold weather has been my running nemesis for a while now. I have bared my body and soul to the cold and beaten it on a few occasions, but ultimately it triumphs, making me shudder inside and avoid workouts or trudge along on the treadmill much of the winter. Apparently, a lot of other runners hate the cold too, as I’ve learned from talking to more people and reading friends’ workout posts on the Dailymile.
So for all you fellow cold-haters, here are a few tips to help you combat the frightful weather and stay in top running form this winter:
Stock up on warm clothes. For a long time, I ran in hoodies and baggy running pants, and my sweatshirts would get sweat-soaked and freezing by the end of my cold weather runs. Switching to Dri-Fit, synthetic materials made a world of difference. And wearing running tights, sometimes with baggier pants on top, helped prevent my legs from getting hit by gusts of freezing wind during workouts. Dress in layers and fabrics with polyester, nylon, spandex or other synthetic materials to help whisk moisture from your body. If you get too hot, you can always shed layers. And you won’t be a sweaty, wet mess in the meantime.
Wearing new running gear also gives you some extra incentive to run.
Run with a partner. Having someone to complain, curse and suffer with during the cold weather can give you an outlet to vent about the cold. Talking with someone also gives you something else to focus on besides the weather, and you just may find yourself wrapped up in a conversation about food (one of my favorite topics!) or something fun and be done with your run before you know it. It is also motivating to have someone counting on you to get out there and run each day.
Set winter running goals. Sign up for a race series, train for a destination race someplace warm or set mileage goals to keep you on track. I signed up for a series of races last winter, and having a race every two weeks kept me motivated to train and stay in shape. I’m pretty sure I would have been traipsing along slowly on short treadmill runs if I hadn’t signed up for the races, which built up in distance and cumulated in a half marathon. Other fun ways to stay motivated are to plan a trip to run a race someplace warm. You’ll be motivated not only to do well in the race but also to stay in shape for hitting the beach.
Track your progress. When you can mark off miles or workouts, it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something, and you won’t want to have a record with big, gaping holes, so you’ll be less likely to skip workouts. Keep track of your miles on your computer, in a journal or online with social networks like the Dailymile, RunKeeper or NikePlus. You can also sync the social networks to Facebook and Twitter to broadcast your workouts to all your friends. Knowing that others are seeing your workout progress will help you stay motivated, and friends and family can cheer you on when you post runs.