Welcome to winter. It's cold, dark and for most runners, motivation is a bit low. But if you've got a spring race on the calendar (or just want to stay in shape), it's important to stay consistent. Winter presents unique challenges, but with the right strategies, you can turn any potential fails into successes.
The Problem: Wintertime Darkness
The solution: When your miles take place in the pre-dawn or evening darkness, the No. 1 thing to do is make sure you're visible. That means choosing well-lit paths and streets, running against traffic and wearing plenty of reflective gear.
Nathan Sport's reflective ponytail beanie will keep your head warm while also giving a heads up to motorists. Bonus points for the hole for your ponytail.
If you'll be running on uneven roads or just need some extra light, a headlamp is a good bet, but we also like these innovative Knuckle Lights.
If you feel unsafe running outside when it's dark, there's no shame in logging miles on the treadmill. Cue up your favorite playlist or TV show and the miles will fly by!
The Problem: Cold Weather
The solution: Whether your definition of winter weather is 40 degrees or negative 20, heading out for a chilly run can be uncomfortable. But as the Scandinavian mantra goes, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear!" Plan on dressing as if it is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. So, if you're headed out for a run in 30 degrees, dress as if you were going for a walk in 50-degree weather.
Plan on wearing base layers made of wool or sweat-wicking material, a windproof running jacket, hat/headband and mittens/gloves. When the roads are slushy, make sure your socks are made from a fabric that will keep your toes warm and blister-free. Swiftwick's pursuit line of socks, made from merino wool, is a great option.
The Problem: Icy, Snowy Roads
The solution: Slippery roads derailing your run? If your usual route is icy, consider strapping a pair of Yak Tracksover your shoes. They may look a bit like medieval torture devices, but they'll add traction and help avoid falls.
Has heavy snowfall covered up your favorite running paths and trails? Consider a pair of running-specific snowshoes like the ones from Dion. Snowshoes made for running are light and sleek—perfect for when you want to go fast on packed trails.
The Problem: Low Motivation
The solution: Whether it's the post-holiday blues or a case of the sniffles, sticking to a routine in the winter can feel tough. One of the best ways to stick with your workouts is through accountability. Do you have a neighbor who will wake up and log sunrise miles with you? A co-worker who can be your new gym buddy?
You might also want to consider a running streak—whether it's for a month or the whole winter season, running just 1 mile a day (or more if you want) can be a great way to maintain a routine, even when you don't feel like it.
If boredom is your issue, try using an on-demand fitness app such as Aaptiv. The audio-based workouts can generally be used on a treadmill or outdoors, and can add some variety to blah runs.
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