Runner bummer: We tend to lose some of our fitness this season by sitting out the snow and the shivery temps, researchers at Ohio State University found. Beat the backslide with these tips from Jeff Gaudette, the head coach for RunnersConnect, an online training site.
Related: Tips and Gear to Warm Up to Winter Workouts
How to Brave the Chill
Do a quick indoor warm-up. Before you head outside, "raise your core body temperature with dynamic stretches," Gaudette says. Do these five lunge variations -- forward, forward with a torso twist, side, diagonal, and reverse -- in your living room pre-run, completing five reps on each side.
Dress the part. Rule of thumb: "Tighter apparel will trap heat better," Gaudette says. Cold? Begin with a formfitting long-sleeve base layer and a fleecepullover (we like the Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro Fleece 1/4-Zip pullover, $60, eddiebauer.com). Wear a hat and mittens and add the following layers as the temps dip:
- 32 to 20 degrees: Cover up with an extra outer shell, like a wind-resistant jacket.
- 20 to 10 degrees: Upgrade your wind-resistant jacket to one with a little more insulation.
- 10 to 0 degrees: Go for an even heavier wind-resistant jacket and have a thin scarf or balaclava wrapped around your mouth to help warm the air before it hits your lungs.
Lean into it. Run with the wind in your face to start. "Otherwise, if you run in the same direction as the wind for the first half, you'll get hot and sweaty. Then, when you turn around, you'll get chilled from the cold," Gaudette says.
We asked Dan Flynn, a coach for the Boston Running Center, to create a fun outdoor run you can do all winter without fishing out your watch or falling on your booty.
Slowly pick up your pace for the first 10 minutes to let your muscles warm up.
Do Four Intervals Per Mile
Look for landmarks as you go -- a mailbox, a lamppost, a tree -- and run hard from one to the next (there should be about 100 meters or yards between each), then jog. "As you run faster, take shorter steps so you don't slip," Flynn recommends.
Add Hill Repeats If You Can
Find a short hill that you can run up in about 30 seconds. Run up it, then walk or jog halfway back down. Run up it again; walk or jog halfway down. Run up it; walk or jog all the way down. Repeat the cycle. Do four reps total.
Related: The Best Winter Running Gear
Perform 10 steps of each walk variation before you get home:
1. On your tiptoes
2. On your heels, with toes up
3. On tiptoes, walking backward
4. Pulling one knee into chest, alternating sides with each step