For many, nothing beats the rush of running in the cold. But even the most avid runners think twice when the roads get icy and the temperature feels like icicles down your spine. What can you do to maintain running fitness during those brutal winter months?
Make a Winter Race Plan
If you’re training for a winter race, cutting out your long runs isn’t an option. Instead, do a little planning to optimize your running schedule. Try to plan long runs on days that aren’t icy or bitterly cold. Do short runs indoors when the weather is bad. If you’re stuck doing a long run on the treadmill, it’s not the end of the world. Listen to music with a great beat, watch an action-packed TV show, or break up your miles with a cross-training.
Dial It Back
If race season is over for the year, enjoy it! All you need is a few miles a week to maintain winter running fitness. If you’re a moderate runner, all you need is 3 miles 3-4 times per week to maintain minimum recommended fitness. If you’re a marathoner, try cutting your weekly training plan by 40% to avoid burnout (and the bitter cold). Studies show that the body can retain aerobic conditioning for months, even if a runner reduces the distance of each run. The key is to maintain your running speed and number of workouts per week to avoid losing that hard-won training.
Cross-training builds strength and endurance, making you a better runner overall. It can also help reduce injuries. Bored by the prospect of your fourth treadmill run this week? Keep your cardiovascular fitness up with these cross-training exercises for runners:
- Bicycle intervals (increasing speed)
- Weight training
- Swimming or water running
- Elliptical trainers
- Cross-country machines
- Cardio fitness classes at Better Bodies
Don’t become a couch potato during the holidays. Better Bodies helps you maintain your winter fitness without freezing your buns off. For more information about fitness classes and gym memberships, call today.