How to make the most of your winter training amidst a lockdown
2020 is finally coming to a close (thank goodness!) and with a little extra time on our hands, more than ever people will be looking to make a New Year’s resolution to start 2021 off on the right foot.
It’s been getting tougher and tougher to do at-home workouts, and for myself I’ve found that I’ve been going for winter runs in much colder weather than I’m used to. I am certainly not the only one who has been motivated to get outdoors more often, albeit with some lessons learnt along the way. Unlike summer running, winter running or any outdoor activity can seem more intimidating as it's not only colder, but also requires more of a time commitment to prepare and gear up. Here are some tips and ideas that could motivate you to begin winter running or push even further into the cold weather:
1. Have the right gear
First and foremost, if you don’t have the right gear, you’ll go on your first run, freeze, and never want to run in the cold again. You don’t want to make that mistake.
You’ll want to ensure you’re geared up with some of the following items:
- A set of running gloves/mittens
- Long spandex, long johns, or any bottom thermal baselayer
- Top thermal baselayer
- Ear covering, be it an OutRun headband, earmuffs, a tight hood, toque
- A pair of winter running shoes (trail running shoes could suffice)
You certainly don’t want to underestimate the importance of winter running shoes since the last thing you want is to slip on black ice and twist an ankle, or injure a knee. Most winter running shoes come equipped with a deeper tread and lugs to allow for better grip to wet, icy surfaces. Like your winter tires, they are typically made of a different rubber allowing for maintained properties at cold conditions.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of my Saucony Peregrine 8 ICE+, they come with a waterproof upper and an awesome Vibram ARCTIC GRIP outsole (this is not sponsored haha). So far it has been a star performer, and I have 2 pairs of these. Needless to say, a winter running shoe is a worthy investment if you plan on running in the middle of the winter.
2. Take the time to warm-up
A simple, but sometimes overlooked aspect is the need to warm up and warm up well. Be it indoors before your run, or taking it out at a slower pace, it’s important to allow your body and muscles to warm up before you start pushing the pace. When I talked about slipping, and injuring yourself, it can oftentimes occur when your body isn’t warm.
If you’re in a time crunch, the least you can do is take it easy for the first 2-3 minutes, allowing for your body to move from its anaerobic phase to aerobic phase, allowing for oxygenated blood to start flowing steadily to your muscles and ensuring that your muscles are warm before you get going.
3. Set your sights on a virtual summer race
It’s important to give yourself a goal to work towards. Although we don’t know if organized road races will be back in summer 2021, try to plan for a virtual summer race that will give you a fixed target to work towards. This can make a world of a difference to motivate you to get outside, especially on the hardest days. Search up some race training plans on the internet and schedule out your runs leading up to your race to keep yourself organized!
4. For the days when you don’t want to go out
It happens to all of us, there will be a day when you don’t want to go out in the cold, or it is a straight up blizzard. If you’re still looking to workout, try and have a list of at-home workouts that you can do on these days. By having a list of these in advance, it will prevent you from being caught in a situation where you don’t want to go outside, but also don’t want to go through the effort of searching for a workout that you want to do.
Personally, I find the Nike Training Club App to be a fantastic resource for workouts that offer a range of durations and intensities depending on the kind of workout you are looking to do. Check it out in the app store:
Another great alternative (if possible), is to have a bike trainer or treadmill that will allow you to continue to get your cardio in. I just got an Elite bike trainer for Christmas, and can’t wait to try it out!
Got some other tips you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you! Leave your comments below.
These are great tips!! One thing I’d add is timing when you go outside for your run – I would totally recommend trying to plan your runs during the day when it’s bright outside! The cold is a tough enough barrier to navigate and night time can be even harder. Plus, sun exposure has been deemed an ideal way of increasing serotonin levels (“the mood stabilizer”). Even if you’re working all day, in class, etc., I think that scheduling in some sort of break to get outside would definitely be worth your while :)