Spring races are hard to get ready for when winter weather impacts your training, but implementing some of these tips can help bridge the gap:
1. Use Layers Intuitively – When you layer up for colder weather, do so based on what you intend to remove once you get too warm (i.e. wear a long sleeved t-shirt over your windbreaker jacket, so once removed you still have protection.). This will keep you from the frustration of needing to slow your pace to take off, then put back on the necessary layers you need for protection, etc.
2. Eat Real Food – Eating a gel packet in freezing temperatures is not the most palatable, so winter is a great time of year to try real food running boosts like dehydrated fruit. In addition, cave dwelling during the colder months is an excellent time to brush up on your lifestyle cooking skills to fuel your runs by a solid whole foods diet void of processed foods.
3. Think about Traction – Slipping on slick terrain can inspire indoor treadmill running quickly, but outdoor solutions do exist. Purchase some traction devices that best fit your style and pace of running to keep you motivated and safe during winter.
4. Keep Feet Warm – Contrary to popular belief, keeping the feet warm is less about shoes, more about socks. Go for brands specifically designed to wick moisture away and avoid cotton. Use a running shoe that allows for the foot to be fully relaxed in the toe box so circulation does not impair proper blood flow to the feet.
5. Head, Hands, and Neck – Yes, the number one place for heat loss is your head, followed closely by your hands, but the neck also needs to be covered to keep your body warm. Try a neck gaiter or turtleneck.
6. Stay Motivated – Sign up for an early spring event helps to stay motivated to get out the door on blustery winter mornings.
7. Have a Plan B – Unexpected weather, alarm clocks mysteriously not going off, and failures in the buddy system all happen during winter a bit more than in the warmer months. Having backup workouts, even cross-training (or running on the dreaded treadmill at times) can keep you on track to meet your running goals.