In winter’s bitter temps, the thought of lacing up your shoes for a run can sound worse than a jog in 95-degree heat with 100-percent humidity. There’s nothing less motivating than the threat of frostbite and black ice. But, fitness trainer Jim Lubinski (also a professional triathlete and USA Triathlon certified coach) says the easiest way to stay moving through the freezing months? Start by signing up for a spring race. With a set date to train for, it’ll be harder to let yourself go mid-January. After you’ve sent in that registration form, follow Lubinski’s five simple winter training tips to keep yourself in top shape—so you don’t hit the starting line already wheezing.
1. Go easy — If you lost sight of why you love to run in the midst of a ass-kicking summer training program, use the winter to get your passion back. “For someone who is running all year long, the winter is a good time to build up the necessary base you need for the rest of the season,” Lubinski says. So don’t have a set workout routine that focuses on pace or intensity—instead, focus on easy-to-follow, general goals that keep you accountable. One month, aim to run four times per week for 30 minutes each. The next month, run four times a week for an hour each. Listen to your body. It can’t go fast 12 months a year, so simply focus on building a strong foundation for spring.
2. Dress warm, but not too warm — “As you go out the door, you are initially going to be cold,” Lubinski says. But don’t overdress, he warns, because that is when you overheat and could get dizzy or dehydrated quickly. Instead, dress for ten to 15 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. You should feel a brisk chill when you head outside, but shouldn’t be overly hot during your warm-up. Dress in layers and definitely wear a hat, as well as a thin pair of running gloves — leave the wool, thick ones at home for a snow day. Your feet should produce enough heat to stay warm in a regular pair of running socks.