As we embrace one of our first snowy days this winter, I felt as though it was time to share some ideas on how we stay fit during some of the most challenging days throughout the year. This is the time of year that always catches me by surprise, every year I forget how difficult it is to get a run in and how easy it is to make excuses. We can always make the excuse that its too cold, dark or even unsafe and its hard to argue because sometimes it really is true. But during this time of year its always important to stay positive, plan ahead and just do your very best!
Top 10 Tips for staying fit this Winter
1. Plan your workouts according to the weather
This is one tip that I have learned over the years and found it to be very helpful. Usually before the start of each week I will plan in my yoga, rest and runnning days according to the temperature and precipitation.
2. Pack your bag the night before so you can go right after work
Planning ahead is definately key to getting a run in anytime of year. Most days I try to pack my bag ahead of time with multiple pieces just incase the weather changes so I'll be comfortable either way. In addition to packing ahead of time, I also try to leave a spare outfit and sneakers in my car just in case.
3. Plan in workouts with friends
Definately another big one, as most of you know I run with the Rhode Runner Running Club on almost every Wednesday and usually I run with some of my friends on Sunday. This is a great way to catch up with friends, give you a little modivation and hold you accountable for your training. Plus it's a great time too!
4. Mix in some cross training
Cross training is definately top on the list for staying fit in the winter. Lets face it some days it really is too cold, dark or is just plain unsafe to run. Not only is cross training a great alternative to running but its also helps increase your fitness and allows you to focus on some of the muscle groups that you don't use as much when your running.
5. Have an alternate plan at home in case of emergency
During the winter, It's always a good idea to have a back up plan whether its an exercise dvd, some free weights or a treadmill. It's always nice to leave your self the opportunity to get a quick workout even on the days when it seems impossible. Personally another one of my favorite activities on the snowiest days is just going for a nice long snowy walk around my neighborhood. It allows me to take in the joy of the snow, take a break from the shoveling and get some fresh air.
6. Invest in the proper winter running gear so that running in the cold is more enjoyable
Proper running gear makes running in the cold, wind and rain that much more tolerable. Simple things such as running with a hat in the rain and your hair in a bun instead of a pony tail so it doesn't get snarly can make all the difference in the world. Its the same thing in the cold, if you have clothes that keep you warm and comfortable your going to be much more willing to get out there. So invest in yourself it really does pay off.
7. Get your run finished early so its already complete!
I know that somedays I would rather do anything in the morning than run, but after I feel so much better. Especially those days when you know your going to be working late or the weathers going to be crummy try getting a run in early and then you don't even have to worry about it.
8. Plan in some spring races to help keep you motivated
Personally, I know that this is a big one for me. If I know that I have a race coming up I'm much more likely to make my running a priority especially if its a long one. When I was training for my first marathon I made a rigid training plan and it definately held me accountable because I knew I needed to get those miles in and the long runs too!
9. Add in a dynamic warmup to help prevent injuries
One way to help prevent injuries especially on these cold running days is to add in a dynamic warmup before your run to get your body warmed up and ready for running! Please feel free to try the Pre-Run Lunge Series video below created by Dr. Brian Hay from Performance Physical Therapy.
10. Always remember something is better than nothing and if its not safe to be outside than either take an additional day of rest or try an alternate workout!
I hope that everyone found these 10 Tips for staying fit in the winter to be helpful. If you have any other suggestions of comments please feel free to share and remember to stay safe out there! Happy running!