Winter has arrived! In Colorado we’ve already experienced big snow storms and freezing temperatures, but we don’t let the weather prevent us from getting miles in. Here are some tips and tricks from our athletes to help you keep your goals in sight through the winter months:
Pick out your workout clothes the night before and stuff them under your bed covers, or put them in your bathroom (if your bathroom has a heater vent) and shut the door. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have warm clothes to put on, which will make going for a run in chilly temps a lot more bearable.
Drink hot chocolate to recover! We’ve all heard that chocolate milk is a great recovery tool. In the winter, heat it up to recover from the hard work and warm up simultaneously. Also, don't forget about Epsom salt baths as another technicque to warm up and recover.
Get the right gear! Here’s a little peak at our athletes’ favorite winter running equipment:
There are many shoe additions that you can put on or in your trainers to keep you from slipping on ice and snow. You can check out Flatirons Running for these various accessories.
If you don’t want to add on to your trainers, check out Saucony’s Razor Ice Plus shoe. Parker Stinson uses this shoe to stay on his feet on the ice and snow. The Razor Ice is designed to not only grip winter roads, but also to keep your feet toasty warm and dry.
Claudia Becque only needs two items for staying warm during winter runs: her Brooks Drift Shell jacket and her Brooks Utopia Tights. She has worn these items in single digit temperatures, and hasn’t needed three or more layers like most of us do on those days. The pants are thermal lined, and the jacket is reflective for runs in the dark.
For runs in the dark, also check out Brooks’ reflective vest. Hiruni relies on this vest to keep her safe on the roads before and after work.
Trevor Dunbar swears by Nike’s Therma Sphere long sleeve, because it’s super light but also extremely warm. The Therma Sphere is perfect for winter workouts when you don’t want to feel weighed down with heavy clothes.
Another great option for workouts is Brooks’ Thermal Vest. Luis loves wearing the vest for workouts because it keeps his core cozy while allowing him to move his arms freely. In the words of our athletes, “it’s a smart inVESTment.”
Mittens tend to be more effective than gloves in keeping your hands warm. Hiruni struggled keeping her hands warm until she found Brooks’ Drift gloves. She doesn’t leave the house in the winter without them.
If you’re on the treadmill, increase the incline to 1% or 1.5%. Since you don’t have to fight air resistance on a treadmill, increasing the grade will help account for that difference. HOWEVER, if you tend to have lower limb injuries, be cautious when increasing the incline. Work into a 1% grade.
Play with incline or speed on a treadmill to make the time go by faster. Every minute or two try switching your effort to make the treadmill more engaging.
If you’re on an indoor track, you’ll have to follow the guidelines of the gym or facility you’re at. However, if you have the option, try switching the direction you run. The curves on indoor tracks are very sharp, so it’ll help you stay injury free if you can switch up directions each day to put strain on counter sides.
Don’t underestimate the elements. Drink lots of water, wear sunglasses and sunscreen. We tend to forget that we still need to take care of ourselves in cooler temperatures. We don’t always recognize that the sun is just as intense, if not more due to the reflection off snow. Also, the dry winter months can dehydrate us even when we don’t feel like we’re sweating. So keep your sunglasses and sunscreen close, and be conscious of filling up your water bottle throughout the day.
Focus on effort, not pace. Your muscles won’t be as warm, the footing won’t be as sturdy, and the treadmill is not the same as the road mentally and physically. Therefore, the times you hit for your workouts will tend to be a little slower than if you were doing the same workout in warmer weather. As you’re making your way through workouts, focus on intensity, and if your times are slower than you thought you were going, don’t stress! You’ll still get the benefit by hitting an equivalent effort.
Be flexible. If you plan a workout on one day, and it’s too icy or you can’t get on a treadmill, don’t stress. You can adapt; there is always a solution.
Stay positive. It’s hard to get motivated when the days are windy, cold, and snowy. However, no matter how cold it is, you’ll almost never regret getting out the door and getting a run in. And remember, soon summer will be here and you’ll be wishing the days were cooler!
If you're prepared, the winter months can provide very pleasant running weather, as there is something very peaceful and satisfying getting a run in while most everyone else is curled under blankets.