The Winter Has Arrived

January 22, 2016

This my first winter here in Chicago, and before I moved everyone was quick to warn me about how brutal the wind and cold can be. About a month ago I remember thinking this season wasn’t so bad. I never hated training in the cold, so I signed up for a marathon in the spring, thinking that it would be a good way to spend the winter months.

And then it finally hit. The negative temperatures and the wind that hurts your face. Now I understand. However, I’m fortunate enough to work in a pretty casual setting so when the temperatures get too cold we often choose to hole up in our apartments or a local coffee shop instead of making the trek to the office. But that does help when it comes to marathon training. You can’t simply wait for better weather and still plan to run well on race day. This means that inevitably you’ll end up training inside on occasion (like when there’s a blizzard or freezing rain–yuck!). Here are a few tricks to keep you motivated:

Indoor tracks. Some gyms have these, and while they don’t beat the great outdoors, they’re much more interesting than the treadmill. They give you a sense of actually making progress instead of staying in one place. Also, you can run faster or slower without having to set your pace (like when your favorite workout song comes on and you’re PUMPED!). Most indoor tracks aren’t as big as a normal track, so you have to run more laps. This can be difficult to keep track of if you’re running long distances, so I would suggest running for time instead of distance so you can easily concentrate on things other than how tired/bored you are.

Treadmills. Ah, the dreadmill. We all hate these. However, there are some ways to make it tolerable when the weather is too treacherous. Since you can adjust the speed and incline so it mimics the outdoors, try simulating a hill. Increase the incline and tell yourself you’re going to run for 30 seconds, or “until the top of the hill”, then lower it and give yourself a mental pat on the back for completing that goal. Repeat this at various points in your workout.

Another thing I like to do when I’m forced inside for more than 5mi is bring my tablet and watch a movie on Netflix. Most gyms have wi-fi, and this can be a great way to take your mind of the monotonous indoors.

Cross-train. This is something that some runners like to skip during their training. Being stuck inside is a great time to finally go to that yoga class you’ve always wanted to try! And it will feel better the next day when you get back to running!

Give some of these tips a try and let us know what you think!