Winter in much of the United States means the roads are covered in snow and ice. Even if the roads are clear, temperatures may be well below freezing, making everything from an easy run to a workout to a weekly long run a chore. Your motivation is challenged with every run. With that in mind, here are some training tips for winter running that will not only keep you on your journey towards greater fitness, but also keep you safe and injury-free so that you can run PRs later in the year.
The first thing you need to do is to be honest about the footing outside. If it's snowy and icy and there is a chance of slipping, then you need to consider the treadmill. Why? Because it's safe and you can get in your intensity safely without worrying about a fall on the ice. You need to adjust the incline on the treadmill to 1 percent to replicate running outside (though this is debatable, with some saying you need to adjust it even higher).
More: 3 Must-Know Things About Treadmill Running
If your coach or training plan has a threshold run planned for you, then you need to be honest about the fact that you'll probably run faster if all you have to do is focus on running a controlled pace on the treadmill (rather than running the workout outside and focusing on both the pace and keeping upright). Now, I'm sure you're saying, "But I hate the treadmill. It's so boring. And it's weird to be moving, yet staying in one place." Agreed. But you don't really have a choice. Or do you?
More: 3 Surprising Ways to Enjoy Treadmill Running
Screw Your Shoes
I heard about putting sheet metal screws in the soles of my shoes a decade before I experimented with it. And now I swear by them for snow-packed roads—even roads with an ice patch here and there.
Here's what you should do: Take an older pair of shoes, one with some life left, but not your latest and greatest.
Note: You should have more than one pair of training shoes and they should be different models. By rotating shoes throughout the week, you will have slightly different interaction with the ground and this means your feet, ankles and lower legs will, to just the slightest degree, have to work specific to each shoe. This ensures that you don't fatigue the small muscles of the feet, ankles and lower legs. I would suggest finding two shoes you like from different brands, as those shoes will have been built on different lasts (the template shoe companies use to make the shoe), and will therefore giving you a slightly different fit.
More: Winter 2012 Shoe Guide