Sidestep These Common Winter Running Pitfalls

Winter runner.

Winter can mean a landmine of excuses when it comes to running, but with a little planning, you can handle whatever the season brings. 

Here are the top challenges that runners face this time of year and how to beat them.

Fewer Daylight Hours 

When the sun is only up for eight or nine hours a day (and most likely when you're stuck in the office), running can seem more difficult than ever. But you can still safely get in your miles. Headlamps and reflective vests are a must for pre-dawn and evening runners. Stick to well-lit paths and pay extra attention to your footing when it's dark. 

And to make the most of daylight, try squeezing in a lunchtime run or walk. Working late might not seem so bad if you're able to enjoy an hour of midday sun.

Holiday Festivities 

This time of year, there's a lot going on: great for your social life; not so good for running. If you know you have a jam-packed calendar during the holidays, schedule runs and workouts ahead of time. On super busy days, enlist a friend to run with you and you'll be even less likely to bail.

Frigid Temperatures

Freezing temperatures go hand in hand with winter, but smart wardrobe decisions can keep you running comfortably. Ditch the cotton sweatpants and invest in a pair of lined running tights. A wind-resistant jacket, hat/balaclava and gloves will also make winter running more bearable. 

Snow, Sleet and Ice 

Slippery roads can make even the most intrepid runners hesitant about logging miles. Watch the weather report and if the conditions are dangerous, it might be best to make friends with a treadmill. If the snow looks like it’ll be sticking around until spring, you might want to try a pair of running-specific snowshoes or Yaktrax. They’re a game-changer!

Food Comas 

After an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of rich holiday dishes and drinks, heading out for a run might be the last thing on your mind. When it comes to holiday treats, try to pick and choose. Maybe you can't skip your mom's famous stuffing or grandma's cinnamon rolls, but you can pass on the holiday cookies your co-worker leaves in the break room. Keep your indulgences to special occasions and you'll feel more like yourself. 

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About the Author

Megan Harrington

Megan is a writer and RRCA certified running coach who lives and trains in rural upstate New York. She ran track and cross-country competitively in high school and college and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance. When she's not running, Megan enjoys coaching fellow runners (www.runnerskitchen.com), snow-shoeing, hiking, and digging around in her garden.

Megan is a writer and RRCA certified running coach who lives and trains in rural upstate New York. She ran track and cross-country competitively in high school and college and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance. When she's not running, Megan enjoys coaching fellow runners (www.runnerskitchen.com), snow-shoeing, hiking, and digging around in her garden.

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