Winter isn’t coming. Winter has arrived. And if you are finding yourself outside most mornings than you have been the lucky recipient of icy sidewalks, numb fingers and a beard or mustache made of ice. This also may mean that you have a spring 5K or a half marathon/marathon you’re currently training for! Congrats! Whether this is your first race or eleventh race, here’s a few tips about training through the bitter winter cold (of which we can speak from experience!):
- Traction matters! Some shoe brands make winter-specific shoes designed with extra tread for sloppy days. Barring a special shoe sometimes wearing a trail shoe with extra tread for more grip also helps. Don’t have either of these? We highly recommend spikes by Kahtoola. These easy to use, stable spikes are designed for road running in icy, snowy conditions and have saved our own butts from some serious falls.
- Keep your feet dry! If you have read our past blog post on socks than you know how strongly we feel about them. Merino wool is your best friend this time of year. Not only will it keep your feet dry but it will also keep your feet warm.
- Layer, layer, layer. Wearing the right amount of layers on a 20 degree day could be the difference between being comfortable and doing a striptease on the side of the road as you shed clothes. The same goes for a 2 degree day. Fabric content (have we mentioned how much we like merino wool?), thermal fabrics, windproof jackets and mid-weight layers all have their place in the running outfit lineup. We are always happy to discuss clothing in person or over the phone.
- Food and drink. You may think: “well I’m not sweating as much in this weather so I probably don’t need to fuel or drink water like I do in the summer”. You would be wrong. You are still putting in the same miles and burning a lot of the same calories which means you should treat your body the same, regardless of the season. Of course the trick this time of year is making sure the fuel and water you bring along doesn’t freeze. For super cold days consider stashing your gels/chews and water in a warm house or apartment. This may mean you will need to create loops or out and back routes but at least you won’t break a tooth trying to stay properly energized!
- Hand and toe warmers are your new best friends. Even in the best outfits your extremities (read: fingers and toes) are bound to get cold. Grabbing a set of hand and/or toe warmers could make the difference between settling into your walk or run, and desperately trying to fight the urge to go back to your car and blast the heater.
We know these dark, cold days can wear you down but with the proper gear and a proper goal, anything is achievable! Keep moving forward and we will see you out there!