The Benefits of Winter Runs and How to Train for Them

The Benefits of Winter Runs and How to Train for Them

Image|Julia Larson|pex els
Image|Julia Larson|pex els

Unless you live in a country with endless Summer or have some extra cash for a treadmill, you’ll have to continue to train for your marathon goal during the winter months. While running can increase immunity, calories burned, and endurance, it’s challenging to think of these positives on cold, snowy days. Stay motivated and prepared for Winter running with these tips.

Why Winter Running Leads to Better Health

Whether you’re a new runner or already have some practice in from the Summer, it’s better to rip the bandaid off and continue running at least a mile a day. Taking a break will put you right back where you started and will completely halt any process you’ve made.

 

You’ll also lose out on the multiple health benefits running can provide:

 

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Stable blood pressure
  • Higher muscular endurance
  • Reduced stress
  • A restful sleep
  • Boosted cognitive function
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lowered risk of many diseases

 

Running is an easily accessible form of cardio exercise that improves aerobic fitness. Your entire body gets a workout from running – including your brain. Running even seems to improve knee health because this exercise keeps your legs strong and BMI low. Plus, running helps you keep stubborn weight off, which will help you live a longer life with fewer health complications.

How to Prepare for Winter Running

Staying motivated is a crucial aspect of staying fit over the Winter. It’s more tempting to quit in cold weather, but the falling temperatures will feel more natural if you stick with it.

Dressing for the Winter

Running in the Winter requires more planning than in the Summer. The last thing you want is to dress too little or wear too much. However, it’s more important to focus on wearing too little as you may contract hypothermia without knowing it. For running in the cold, always dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer because physical activity will naturally raise your body’s temperature.

If you’re slightly cold while running, it means you’ve dressed appropriately. You can overheat quickly under multiple layers, so do a practice run around the block to ensure you’re staying cool. Always dress in layers that have zippers or are easy to remove in case you do get too hot. Zipping down your sweater could make you more comfortable than removing it entirely.

Protect Yourself From Wind

Wear gloves and a hat if the temperature falls below 30℉ because the wind will be ice cold when it hits exposed skin. For incredibly windy days, wear a waterproof windbreaker, run into the wind, and finish with it at your back. You don’t want the wind to blast you while you’re drenched in sweat. Alternate between running against and away from the wind for long jogs.

How to Stay Healthy After and In-Between Runs

On the way back to your home, try not to slow down if possible. You want to maintain a higher body temperature to avoid your sweat freezing on your skin and making you cold.

Practice Self-Care

As soon as you step foot inside your house, run into your bedroom and remove all clothing. It’s important to get out of damp sweatpants before your body temperature starts to stabilize. Either jump in a warm shower or drink something hot to warm up indoors. If you didn’t use these already during the run, warm your hands and feet with thermal pads and moisturize.

Adjust Intensity Slowly and Stay Close to Home

At the beginning of your running journey, it will be challenging to keep a steady pace that will keep you warm. New runners will often stop and start, which is fine while practising indoors or during the Summer but could cause you to freeze quickly. During your first few weeks, stay close to home in case you’re too tired or cold to up the intensity, so you have a quick escape to warmth.

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