Winter Running Basics

photoThe weather this past week has certainly been frightful. A huge drop in temperature makes that couch seem a lot more pleasing then a chilly, windy run. But for my run crew at Tribe Fitness, hibernation is not an option.

Last week I was invited to speak at the first of four runners workshops at lululemon Queen St. West, leading a 5km run and then highlighting some important winter running basics.Here are three things you should keep in mind when heading out for a winter run:

1. Motivation: What’s going to get you out the door? Is it near gear? Signing up for a race? Keeping your New Years Resolution or promise to yourself? Or what about a friend or Tribe to run with? When that warm couch is calling your name, you need to find something greater to get you outside. For me it’s always my Tribe. Confession: I would stand myself up, but never my crew. Find something or someone that will motivate you to get out there and stick with it.

2. Safety: Nights are longer which means visibility is at an all time low. Be sure you dress bright and have reflectivity or lights to see and be seen. Be aware for the conditions on the road, knowing that cars won’t be able to stop as quickly, and tread carefully while running through ice and snow. Winter running is typically a time to focus on strength vs speed. If you are headed outdoors, be sure to run smart, and stay safe.

3. Gear: Having the right running gear during the winter months can make or break your run. It’s a fine art finding the perfect amount of layers for you and your body temperature. Be sure to stick with technical fabrics. Consider a moisture wicking bottom layer, something that will pull sweat, or slush from the body. Next is your warming layer, something to help insulate and keep you warm. Top that off with a protective layer depending on the specific conditions. If it’s windy or rainy, you’ll need something to either cut the wind or keep you dry. And make sure that top layer is bright, yes I already said this point, but it’s an important one. Gloves and hats are always a must, and for me wool socks are where it’s at. They keep your feet toasty and wick away any snow and slush that might make it through your shoe. Shoes with a more lather upper vs a mesh upper are ideal, and consider a trail show which has a great tread for when conditions are snowy and icy.

The Winter Running Basics series continue every Thursday for the month of January at Lululemon Queen St West. it’s free and open to all levels of runners.

What are some of your winter running musts? Post them in the comments below!