The hardest part about going running is often the actual getting up and getting out the door – especially if you’re not used to running all that much in the first place. I’ve previously talked about reasons why you should get up and go running in that past, but it seems to get a lot harder when the winter cold is involved.
Luckily, I’m back with even more reasons why you should get yourself out there and go running, this time with the theme of Winter. From fighting back the cold to not making it too much of a challenge, Winter running isn’t all doom and gloom. I’m here to prove that to you.
You Can Get Yourself Geared Up
The most important part of getting out there in the cold is making sure that you’re geared up for it. Not just by the clothes you’re wearing (which is important), but by the techniques and warm-up activities you do.
When it comes to clothes, you want to make sure that you have warm, insulating material which also lets your body sweat and breath. That means that you should be avoiding cotton clothes like the plague. They don’t work very well once you start sweating, and all that moisture on your skin can actually lead to you getting colder than you should. Instead, Polyester or Lycra can go a long way to providing that needed insulation, whilst also drying quickly and helping you to manage sweat.
For Warm-ups, make sure that you maintain a short workout which builds up a sweat before you head out the door. This will help get your blood flowing faster and your natural body temperature will rise. I’m not saying that you’re going to run 10k, but doing an exercise workout which will help you get ready for 10k will help a lot more than you would think.
You Can Bring Friends and Accomplices
I talked about this previously in the past and said that having people there to encourage you and chat to can make running an all around much better experience. That’s not all it will do though. During those winter months where you’re struggling to get out of bed for your morning run, or just don’t want to move a muscle in the evening, having a co-running will make you liable for your own running schedule.
That’s right. Imagine the difference between waking up in the morning and thinking “I have to go for a run” and “Jerry is going to meet me for a run in 30 minutes”. I’d say that you’re much more likely to get up and out of bed for the second one – unless you really don’t like Jerry.
You Can Set Limits
This is incredibly important. Set limits on what you’re willing to run in. This way, you will know if you just can’t do it that day. For instance, if you’ve got a lot of snow or ice on the roads. It’s ok, just say that too much snow or ice means that you’re not going to run because it’s not safe. Setting these boundaries beforehand means that you won’t feel guilty if you don’t get to run and lets you put your mind at rest when it does happen.
Also, make your daily running limits clear. Don’t just head out without a destination. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Goals are important, no matter what type of runner you are. Use them. I find that a good goal tends to stretch your abilities a little bit, but doesn’t cause you to extend yourself so much that you don’t find the run enjoyable. In this vein, make sure that you don’t push yourself past increasing the workload by 10% each week – that way you’ll reduce the chance of getting injured.
You Can Change as Soon as You Get Back
As soon as you stop running, your body temperature is going to drop… rapidly. That’s why it’s important to change as quickly as you can post-run. It doesn’t matter if you’re back in your warm house, the worst thing you can do is catch a chill after going for your run. Getting sick won’t just stop you from running in the short term, it will also draw a mental association between the running and getting sick – making it even harder to motivate yourself to get out there running each time.
Having a shower can also help. Reward yourself once you’ve finished running. Get as warm as possible by doing as many different things as you can think. How about settling down with a lovely cup of hot chocolate or a diet-friendly Mocha Latte? I find that a rewarding (small) self-pampering session after a full run will make me want to do it next time. It’s like when you were a student and would reward yourself with jelly beans for studying – we all did that right?
You Don’t Have to Challenge Yourself Too Much
I think I’ve kind of been saying this throughout this article, but one of the most important things to pay attention to during winter running is that you shouldn’t be challenging yourself too much. Winter running is different than summer running. It’s a lot heard for one, and it’s also got a lot more against you. The wind, the temperature, the weight of the clothes you’re wearing….
Don’t challenge yourself too much when you’re going running during the winter – and especially don’t expect the same results as you would from summer running. It’s just not going to happen.
Most Importantly, Get Out There and Go Winter Running
The most important thing is that you still get out there and get running. Follow these 5 cues for getting yourself motivated and you’ll find yourself enjoying your winter running in no time. Just be careful of the challenges winter will throw at you. They’re easily conquered, but you will need a bit of grit to get through them.