If running is one of your fitness pursuits for the New Year, you may have a hard time getting up off the couch when it’s dark and cold outside. We consulted the experts for advice about running on winter days and came up with some solid tips to keep you moving. We also found suggestions to motivate you throughout the year, whether you’re new to running or training to tackle longer distances.
For your winter training runs, try these three things to fight the freeze:
1. Run in the morning or, if you can manage it, at midday, to maximize daylight. The days are already growing longer, so it will be easier to find the light every day. If you must work out in the dark, make sure you have lights and wear brightly colored clothing so you’re visible to cars.
2. Wear the right gear for the season. Be prepared for rain and cold, but don’t overdress. Seattle runner and blogger Joel Ballezza recommends keeping your head and hands warm, while leaving your upper body cooler to start.
“While you may feel uncomfortable for the first minute or two, running quickly heats your core,” Ballezza said. “By leaving for your run a little underdressed, you won’t have to stop in a mile and strip down layers.”
No matter what time of year, it’s always important to have the right shoes. Consult a local store like Road Runner Sports in the Seattle area or Portland’s Fit Right NW for the right fit.
3. Warm up before you run. Warming up is always important for injury prevention, but it’s even more important when the weather turns cold. Get your blood pumping with a few sets of pushups, jumping jacks, squats or lunges, or try a dynamic yoga warm-up. Start moving indoors before you head outside and you’ll be ready to run when your feet hit the pavement.
For anyone who is resolved to make running a habit in 2014, here are two key tips to push through the whole year:
1. Get with the program. Lots of running programs are out there. You’ll find some at your local gym or running store. You can even download apps like Couch to 5K for beginners or 5K to 10K for those looking to increase their distance this year. Pick the one that works for you and stick with it.
2. Set your sights on an achievable goal. One of the best ways to do that is to sign up for a race about three to six months out. The Shamrock Run in Portland each March is a great one for anyone kicking off the New Year with a running resolution. Sign up now – registration usually closes by the end of January and prices go up Jan. 10. If you’re a LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon member, a limited number of free registrations are available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more info.
For more great advice, check out some of our favorite Northwest running blogs, and be sure to share your training tips with other Actively Northwest runners in the comments below.