Running in the cold isn't for the faint-hearted people. It requires a level of fearlessness to consider such an odd form of activity enjoyable. But, when you need to train for a marathon, you need to brave the winter. If you think that training for a marathon is a difficult task, then training for a winter marathon can be daunting. When you are training during the cold months, you don’t have to just worry about the mileage. You now have to take the weather, daylight, and countless other factors into account.
If you are training for an early season event, you have little choice but to get tough or face the consequences on the race day. Listed below are a few tips that would help you to maintain your pace efficiently through the winter months and prepare yourself for the big day.
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Tips For Running in Winter
There is a long list of things to remember when you go out on a cold run. Take these tips seriously as winter running requires more effort and strength than running in summer or any other season.
Warming Up Properly is Essential
If you are familiar with winter running, you must be aware of the fact that your body warms up slowly during winter especially if you are going to run in the morning. We all know the importance of warm up and hence you must walk briskly for at least five minutes before you begin to run.
It might take about ten to fifteen minutes of running before your body warms up nicely and adjusts into your running tempo. You could also consider taking a hot shower to warm up your muscles or put your running clothes in the dryer on hot for a few minutes before the run.
Hydrating Yourself is More Important than you Think
One of the basics problems associated with running in cold among athletes is failing to hydrate themselves. Even though it isn't hot, your hydration needs are quite the same. The biggest difference is that you won't be feeling the outward signs of your workout as much and hence tend to drink more conservatively.
Athletes in all weather conditions need to consume fluids so as replace the water that is lost by the body. Eat and drink on your winter training just as you would in warmer weather. Remember that a well-fuelled run is the first step to proper recovery. On really cold days, be sure to keep your fluids under your outer layer so as to keep them from freezing.
Consider Hitting the Treadmill
If your long runs and recovery runs are outside, this means that you can move the track/interval training to the treadmill. It might seem mentally harder but the advantage is that you would be able to run faster without having to worry about the obstacles. When you train on the treadmill, you can do it in the comfort of your home while watching a movie and you won't even realize how time passes away. Moreover, you would have the fluids right where you want them to be and you would also get the miles safely.
Without external stimuli such as hills or the wind, your heart rate will be slower on a treadmill. This also makes a difference that the treadmill is pushing your legs instead of you pulling your body forward. When you follow a heart rate only plan, it would make you run harder than you normally would have. Try to follow a half marathon treadmill training plan to prepare better.
When you are running in cold weather, the basic rule is to dress a bit warmer than the actual temperature. Layer your clothing with a base layer which is made from a synthetic wicking material. This layering would keep the sweat off your skin and therefore keep you dry. The second layer of your clothing must be an insulating material. We have mentioned all about the proper winter marathon training gear below
Winter Marathon Training: Strategies to Follow
These are two specific methods you can follow when you are training for the big day. Try to keep them in mind when going in a cold weather run and you will be well prepared.
Divide the Total Distance to be Covered into Shorter Ones
While training for the winter half marathon, if you have time in hand, consider breaking the total distance to be covered into smaller parts. You could then run them about six to eight hours apart. Let’s say for instance that you have planned to run for twelve miles in a day. What you can do is run six miles in the morning and the other six miles in the evening.
If you are going to be running on the treadmill, this is a great idea. However, if you want to run outside, you could also break up the total distance to be covered into two days. Whatever you do, make sure that you are comfortable with it. Before you go running outside, check the condition of the roads.
Be Patient and Go with the Flow
Training for a winter marathon is a challenging task. Therefore, when you are training during the colder months, it is best to do just much as you can. Pushing your body beyond its capability isn’t recommended. If your body cannot do it, limit the distance that you are going to be running. Sometimes it might just too cold, or icy, or both. Running outside isn’t worth it if you’re going to slip and fall and get hurt, or get frostbite, or even just be miserable the whole time. Pushing yourself too much would only yield negative results.
Proper Gear for Running during Winter
What according to you should be the proper running gear for running during the freezing winter months? The basics are really simple- snug and lightweight technical wear which would aid you in maintaining your core body temperature. Keep your hands and ears warm by wearing gloves and a cap. You can take them off and stuff it in your pockets if you are feeling hot. The outer upper layer should ideally be windproof. You could wear the heavy cycling jackets too while training for a winter marathon.
If we talk about the winter marathon gear for your legs, it completely depends on what you prefer. A lot of people prefer to wear spandex shorts and a long pair of spandex tights above it. This double layer makes sure that you are warm and snug. If you are running in the snow, you could consider a shoe add-on for that additional grip. Adding reflective or flashing lights is also a great option if you are going to be running in the dark.
Benefits of Winter Running
According to a lot of athletes, running in the cold is an awesome experience. It’s invigorating and would leave you with you with a sense of accomplishment which the friendly confines of a treadmill can never offer. The biggest advantage of marathon training in winter is the fact that running during the colder month is comparatively easier.
Think about this way, you are running along the beach in your comfy running clothes and you feel great about it. But, the amount of work that your body has to do to stay cool is immense. Producing sweat, losing electrolytes, it sure is an exhausting task for the body. On the other hand, stepping out the door it’s below freezing outside to go for a run might not be your favorite thing to do but would do well for your body.
Running in the winter is pretty hardcore and if done right, pretty awesome. Imagine training for your winter marathon right after a fresh snowfall when the trees are covered in snow and the weather outside is simply amazing. So, while training for your winter marathon, enjoy the weather outside and have fun with what you are doing.