Winter running is a challenge for so many runners in the U.S. Freezing temperatures make running outside an act of courage, and snowy, icy footing can mean that it's simply not safe to run outside. Falling on ice can cause an injury that may take months to recover from. If you're an athlete who deals with below-zero temperatures and/or snow and ice in the winter, it's easy to lose motivation for winter running.
But, winter is the time of year when you need to put in solid foundational training so that you can race well in the spring and summer. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to keep you motivated during the winter.
When Should You Run on the Treadmill?
The treadmill is often called the "dreadmill" by runners, for obvious reasons. An hour or two on the treadmill can drive even the most dedicated runner batty. The flip side: If you're truly serious about your training, you need to hit the treadmill sometimes during winter.
How do you know if you should run on the treadmill? Ask yourself a few simple questions:
1. Is the footing outside safe? If the answer is no, then obviously you need to be on the treadmill.
2. Is the weather outside so cold that you need to worry about frostbite? If the answer is yes, then you need to hit the 'mill.
3. What is the balance between how ridiculous the weather is outside and your motivation to go for a run in that weather?
Here's an example that illustrates the importance of #3.
Last week, an athlete that I coach went for a run on the Chicago lakefront path on a day when the snow was blowing and the temperature was hovering around zero. She was sick the week prior, and had completed a few runs on the treadmill. She thought of a run in those conditions as an adventure, as she was sick of running on the treadmill. She was so pumped to share the conditions of the run when she logged her workout. So be open to that idea—there may be days when you want to make an adventure out of a run in ridiculous weather.