As the seasons start to change and the temperatures drop, many runners face the challenge of maintaining their training routines. Just like in the summer, training during the winter comes with its own challenges.
COROS Coaches explore how to safely train during the colder months, including essential tips and examples of warm-up exercises to do before heading out the door.
Warmup Routine for Winter Runs
The Dynamic Warm-up is something that should always be included as a part of your pre-run routine. But when running in the cold, it is even more important to take the time to warm-up to prevent injuries. Cold weather can make your muscles tighter and more susceptible to strains. Dynamic stretches will raise your core temperature and help activate your muscles.
Here is a winter warm-up routine that you can do inside to get your body ready for the run, including:
- 5-10 minutes of indoor cardio to get your heart rate elevated and work up a light sweat
- Indoor bike, walking on the treadmill, going up and down the steps a few times
- 10 reps each side/exercise, 2 sets
- Lateral Leg Swings, Butt Kicks, Lateral Band Walks, High Knees, Short Stride Running
Take your time and ease into your run, especially if you are heading out for a longer distance! Incorporating a warm up will prevent muscle strains that often occur in colder temperatures.
Training safely when the Temperature Drops
- Adjust your pace: Cold weather can affect your lung capacity and running performance. Listen to your body and be prepared to adjust your pace. It's okay to run slower than usual in the extreme cold to avoid overexertion.
- Plan out routes ahead of time: Shorter days mean that the sun rises later for darker morning runs and it sets earlier for evening runs, consider running on well-lit and well-traveled routes to ensure safety. Also, be mindful of black ice or later in winter for snowy surfaces.
- Dress in layers and have proper gear: You want to keep your core warm. Wear a base layer that is made of material that provides insulation, breathable and sweat-wicking. The next layers will depend on how cold it is and if there is wind and/or precipitation. It is also important to keep your head and hands warm, so don't forget a good hat and gloves! Other pieces of important gear that will vary depending on where you are running are reflective gear, trax for your shoes, neck covering, good socks.
- Hydration: Even in cold weather, staying hydrated is important. You may not feel as thirsty as you do in hotter weather, but your body still loses fluids through sweat. Make sure to hydrate before, during, and after your run.
Dress in layers to maintain core temperature.
Remember that safety should always be your top priority. If the weather becomes too extreme, it's better to skip a run or opt for an indoor workout instead.
Ideas for alternative indoor workouts are:
- Treadmill Running: switch your planned mileage to indoor run and track your run more accurately by adding the COROS POD 2.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): short, intense workouts that can be an alternative for a speed workout like this VO2max or this Fartlek workout.
- Indoor Cycling: replace your run with an interval ride, here is an example from the COROS library- Hill Cycling Workout.
Adapt your training plan as needed to ensure you can enjoy running safely throughout the colder months.
If you want your training questions answered, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll gladly share insights!