1. Warm up:
More often than not, runners are guilty of skipping their warmup. No matter the excuse you have, you will pay the price in winter if you can’t muster up the time to get your heart rate up before hitting the roads/trails. It may be easier to warm up inside and that is a great way to start.
Performing butt kicks, A-Skip, B-Skip drills, and leg swings for about 5-10 minutes prior to your run is a great warm up for your muscles/body, reducing your risk of injury, and getting your engine running.
2. Dress properly:
Dress as if it is 15-20 degrees warmer than the weather. Since you will be moving around your body heat will rise and keep you warm.
Dress by the “real feel” temperatures since the wind chill can make it feel colder than it actually is.
Avoid cotton clothing since it absorbs moisture and will make you feel colder.
Wear layers: a base layer with a medium-weight or heavy long sleeve or vest over it depending on how cold it is.
Also dress in running tights, running gloves, a wind/rainproof jacket, and wool running socks.
Consider investing in high-visibility jacket, increasing visibility to oncoming traffic during low light conditions.
A must for me is sunglasses - all year round - but especially in the snow. One can become snow blind pretty quickly.
3. Run with a friend or group:
Well, they say misery loves company, haha. When the nights get dark so soon and the cold weather hits, you will find plenty of nights or early mornings where running is the last thing you want to do. To help combat your warm and comfy bed consider running with a friend, training partner, or running group for motivation and accountability.
4. Hit the 'mill:
Sometimes it’s just too cold and too rainy. Under these poor weather circumstances, it’s best to opt for the treadmill. As mind-numbing as it may be, the treadmill is a great option for faster running or getting in those base miles.
Don't let it get boring! Mix it up! Running interval sessions, tempo runs, long runs (come on, you can do it!) will make the time go by faster and can even improve your running by keeping a steady pace and not naturally slowing down.
5. Find your foot wear:
Once the snow starts to fall, it is time to rethink your foot wear. Why? Because beneath that powder is ice, roots, potholes, and more uneven terrain. Trail shoes are an excellent choice to put into your running shoes arsenal. Trail shoes often have water-resistant uppers that will protect your feet from getting wet and their more aggressive lugs improve your grip on slippery terrains.
Are you not willing to splurge on a new pair of shoes? There are grip-enhancing devices that slip over the soles of your existing shoes, like YakTrax.
6. Adjust your form:
Grippy shoes are a good start, but you’ll also need to modify your running technique if you want to stay on your feet. Be intentional with each step. Each stride should be more of a shuffle, both feet closer to the ground, shorten your stride when making a turn, and you should run at a slower pace. Look for plowed streets and well traveled paths to run on - often packed snow provides better traction. All of these tips can prevent you from taking a pretty nasty spill.
7. Enjoy the seasons:
Each season brings a certain element to running. Summer - needing to adapt to heat and humidity. Fall - a break in humidity allowing for fast times and the beauty of the changing color of the leaves. Winter - Tough terrain, cold temperatures, and the need for mental toughness and determination. Spring - breaking into warmer temperatures but still surprising weather changes of rain, snow, sun...a new awaking.
In summary, running all year round is extremely do-able and often magical. Snow covered streets and trees, beautiful fall foliage, the warmth of the summer, and the new beginnings in spring. Don't miss out on what nature has in store for you, each season's run will bring you closer to nature and stronger in your runs.