At this point in your Holiday Run Streak, you’re pretty committed to running every day. You might even be a little overconfident. “This is easy,” you think. But take heed—the Run Streak is considered a challenge for a reason.
Be prepared to jump a few hurdles as the temperatures dip below freezing and the sunlight fades earlier and earlier each day. Nightmares of treadmill runs dance in your head while a mound of base layers grows in your laundry basket. Soon, your late-fall bliss wavers into winter blues.
But trust us—it doesn’t have to be that way! As long as you avoid a few key training mistakes, you can sidestep cold-weather injuries and winter malaise for a smooth path to the Run Streak finish line.
Mistake #1: Not warming up cold muscles
If you don’t properly warm your body up, you’re likely to injure yourself—even in hot weather. During cold weather, injuries are more prominent, so if you face an even higher likelihood of cutting your training cycle short. Warming up also increases your body temperature, which allows you to make better decisions when dressing.
Not convinced yet? A review in the journal Temperature—which featured numerous studies about warming up—stated that cold weather can make your muscles less efficient. Additionally, a systematic review in Sports Medicine showed that warming up does indeed improve your performance. So before you lace up for a cold run, try this five-minute pre-run warmup routine.
Mistake #2: Not dressing properly
Even if you warm up properly, a t-shirt and shorts just aren’t going to do it when it’s below freezing. Make sure you practice the art of layering, where you dress accurately depending on the temperature. The old running adage goes that you should dress like it’s ten degrees warmer, cause once you start sweating, you start shedding layers.
Mistake #3: Slacking on hydration
Even though thirst sensitivity decreases in cold weather, you still get dehydrated, says an article in Nutrition Support for Athletic Performance. Therefore, you should be extra aware of rehydrating after a winter run because you might not feel thirsty.
Runner’s World previously reported that most people should drink 60 to 80 ounces of water per day. But everyone is different, so it requires a little trial and error. When all else fails, you can check the color of your pee to assess hydration.
“Light yellow is appropriate. Clear is an indication of possibly too much water intake,” Heather Milton, M.S., RCEP, C.S.C.S., exercise physiologist and clinical specialist at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center told Runner’s World.
Mistake #4: Dreading the treadmill
If you’re a treadmill hater, you probably just let out a frustrated sigh. But if it weren’t for this fancy cardio machine, you straight up might not be able to complete your streak. Not everyone doing the Run Streak lives in temperate climates without inclement weather. Think of the freak snow, wintry mix, or sleet attacks that make running outside near impossible on some winter days.
Try to look on the bright side: “Treadmill training provides a completely controlled environment,” Peloton Tread instructor Selena Samuela told Runner’s World. “You can accurately control the pace, incline, interval, and recovery. For example, getting used to running at certain speeds because you’re forced to, is much easier to do while there’s a belt moving under your feet.”
So maybe there’s a day you want to run a really fast 5K. Why not turn up the pace on the treadmill, throw in your favorite running songs, and crank out a great run in a controlled environment?
Mistake #5: Not watching where you step
If you do decide to skip the treadmill, be extra careful with where you step on your run. What might seem like a nice trail or smooth road could have patches of ice waiting to make you slip. You should consider picking up a trail shoe or external grips like Yaktrax—something that will give you extra traction so if you do accidentally hit a patch of ice, you have a better chance of staying upright
Now that you know what to avoid, get streaking!
No, not that kind of streaking. Run Streaking! If you need some extra words of encouragement, check out Runner’s World+ Coach Jess Movold’s advice on how the winter Run Streak can actually prepare you for your spring marathon.
Chris HatlerService & News Editor
Chris Hatler is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but before joining Runner’s World and Bicycling, he was a pro runner for Diadora, qualifying for multiple U.S. Championships in the 1500 meters. At his alma mater the University of Pennsylvania, Chris was a multiple-time Ivy League conference champion and sub-4 minute miler.
This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.