Updated: Jul 2, 2021
For a lot of us we’ve just spent the better portion of the year training for a race or maybe several, but that doesn’t mean we should go into hibernation mode. You don’t want to lose all the fitness you gained throughout the year! This is where winter conditioning comes into play! This is the time of year to focus on gaining your base mileage and building aerobic fitness!
As the temperatures are decreasing and snowy weather is quickly on its way, this is the perfect time to work on running for time to build your endurance and aerobic capacity, get in strength and cross training workouts to build up your strength and mobility, and focus on your form! Now is the perfect time to work with a Running Technique Specialist to reassess your running form to determine areas of improvement to run faster, longer, and pain free! Now is also a great time to work with a Physical Therapist to remedy some of those nagging aches and pains to prevent them from continuing into next season! Physical Therapists certified in Functional Movement Screening is also a great option to better understand how your body moves and identify areas of pain!
As I mentioned, winter is the perfect time to work on running for time versus miles, 1. To work on your endurance and aerobic capacity, but also 2. Because our pace will decrease due to the weather. As it is colder, it takes some time for our bodies to warm up so we likely won’t be running at our fastest times. Also, did I mention snow? I personally love running through the snow but it is tricky and a major ankle mobility workout. Take caution if you take to running trails or through unpaved pathways in snowy/icy conditions.
Tips for winter conditioning:
-Use a GPS watch to track your runs: you can keep an eye on your effort, cadence, distance and easily see how you’re progressing and what needs to be fine tuned in the Spring
-Keep a Running Diary of your weekly runs, meals, aches/pains, so that you can figure out what works best for you during peak training
-On your regular running days during the week, run at least 30 minutes and on your long slow distance day, run at least 60 minutes
-Use the treadmill to your advantage: All runners hate treadmills, but use them for speed workouts and hill practice. The preset workout are also useful for both.
-Look into winter trail shoes if you prefer running off the roads for the added traction you need to stay safe
-Challenge yourself with a winter trail race if you are goal oriented and need something to push towards
-Join a running club to help power you through your runs! It’s no fun trudging through your runs alone in the cold and dark, do it with others like you!
-Remember: Dress warm but not too much, as you run your body heats up an additional 10 degrees. I usually wear a sweatshirt with a light dri-fit shirt underneath, fleece lined leggings, gloves, scarf, and beanie
Things to Check Out:
-Local Running Club: TBRC runs on Tuesday nights for shorter “get the miles in” runs around OTB Athletics and longer runs on Saturday mornings at Morris County trails and parks (www.trailblazerrunco.com)
-Consider hiring a coach to help you achieve your running goals whether its a conditioning plan, for an upcoming race, or for a specific goal (www.trailblazerrunco.com)
-Physical Therapy for injury prevention, recovery, treatment, or Functional Movement Screening (www.otbphysicaltherapy.com)
-Cross Training: join a gym! Whether it’s following your own workouts in an Open Gym setting or taking a class, get those non running workouts in (www.otbathletics.com)
-Buy a new pair of running shoes! You should typically cycle your shoes around 500 miles! Check out our favorite local running store https://www.jackrabbit.com/info/locations/jackrabbit-morristown
-Local Races: check out the TBRC homepage on the calendar for local races and events! I constantly update it with new findings!