I originally began writing this post when I thought I would be living through a New Jersey winter. Now I’m sitting here in Alabama, and it’s close to 70 degrees outside in January. As long time readers know I’ve been through many different temperatures during winter.
I went to college and worked in Upstate NY where there is often 2 feet of snow, but nothing closes. It ranged from -30 to 30.
I’ve lived in Virginia and New Jersey where a few inches generally shuts down everything.
And now I live in Alabama where today the high is 70 degrees (but last week it was 25). So my 2017 winter will be a combination of a couple of states from New Jersey to Alabama.
With anything, it’s important to run and train smartly. If you ever feel unsafe, run inside or rest. There is never shame in that. (In college, I slipped and fell on ice. It resulted in a fractured humorous, and I wasn’t even running outside…I was just walking!)
Another fun fact about winter training is that all of my PRs now are currently from winter races.
February 2015 Phoenix Marathon: 3:14,59
January 2016: Carlsbad Half Marathon 1:22.57
February 2016: Flower Show 5k (18:13)
So thinking out loud, I’ve created a few tips to running through the winter.
First and most importantly: Don’t be afraid to adjust your workout:
A few years ago, I was visiting friends in Rochester the weekend of my last long run. Rochester ended up getting a massive blizzard and running outside was unimaginable. (You know it’s a problem when things in Rochester close!).
I ran my last 20 mile run on the treadmill (see why I don’t hate the treadmill). It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t desirable either. Running outside would have been unsafe and hazardous. If I hadn’t felt good on the treadmill, I probably would have skipped the run altogether. Luckily, I felt fine.
Prevent Sliding with Yak Trax:
You will be amazed at what a difference Yac Trax make while running outdoors. You’ll be able to grip the ground and ice much easier and stay safe. I cannot stress how awesome they are (no they aren’t paying me to tell you).
Don’t Forget: Main Roads are Plowed First:
The main roads are going to be plowed before local roads and sidewalks. Who knows, your sidewalk may never be plowed. Being smart with how and where you run is important. Always run on the opposite side of traffic and don’t run down the middle of the road.
Some local are often cleared quickly too:
My high school was located in a neighborhood, and the roads to and from the school were cleared quickly. During winter storms I could often run a 1-2 mile loop around my high school. Boring? Yes, but if you like outdoors then that was your best bet.
Even when the temperatures are brutal outside, the wind factor can play a bigger role. Layering appropriately is important. It’s not just about “wearing as many layers as possible”. Runners World has a great “what to wear” calculator here.
I recently learned that Vaseline can be an excellent protection against the cold and wind. It’s waterproof and helps block the wind too. I don’t know how I didn’t know that!
You can prepare for the snow but don’t forget about the rain. In my opinion, winter rain is one of the toughest elements to run through. It’s important to appropriately layer. My personal favorite jacket is from Gore-Tex. I’ve run through 30-degree torrential downpours, and my long sleeve underneath has stayed completely dry. While it is pricey, it’s worth the cost if you are running outdoors in the winter.
With that, winter running can be an enjoyable experience. Training through the winter can set you up for Spring PRs.
Questions for you:
What are some tips you have to train through the winter?
How cold is it where you are?