Guest Post by Jessica Kuepfer
We have just entered into a brand new year with and there is never a better time to start creating new habits than right now!
Whether you are a resolution maker, a goal setter or a “see-how it goes-er”, focusing on fitness is a vital part of making any year a successful one. For a lot of people, running is a logical place to start as the gyms crowd up with members focused on their newly acquired resolutions.
As a runner, the wintertime can be a tricky time to start running but I have complied a list of my go-to, sure-fire ways to stay motivated and have fun out there!
Before you Go Out on Your First Run
1. Have a plan – A lot of first-time runners want to just start running for as long as they can, but that will leave most runners exhausted, discouraged and ready to abandon the sport. Find a good program that has you slowly building up your distance and intensity. Join a local “Learn to Run” clinic or take a look at the “Couch to 5 KM” online.
2. Have the gear – Layers are key, but you’ll also want to pay attention to what kind of material you’re wearing. It’s best to trade in your cotton shirts for something made from synthetic fibers. Make sure to wear a hat and gloves, they’re the trick to staying warm and can easily be removed if you get too hot. Also keep in mind that shoes with lower amounts of mesh are warmer and will keep out water and slush.
3. Make sure you don’t skip a warm up – Cold weather means cold muscles. It is more important than ever to spend a few minutes ensuring that your muscles are warm and ready for movement to prevent injury. Try dynamic warm-ups such as swinging your legs, marching in place or skipping. I would recommend doing the warm up inside.
On Your Run
4. Start Against the Wind – On windy days, it’s best to start your activities heading into the wind. Later on in the run, you’ll be sweating more, which will freeze with the wind on your way back. Besides, it’s always best to get the hard part over with.
5. Remember to hydrate – It’s easy to remember to drink water when it’s hot out and you’re dripping in sweat, but hydrating during cold workouts is just as important. Bring a water bottle along and make a conscious effort to ensure you’re drinking enough. Try filling your bottle with warmer water to help combat the cold.
6. Be seen – Chances are, if you are running in cold weather, there will be limited daylight. Make sure you are clearly seen to motorists and other runners with reflective gear or lights.
7. Dry off – Always change out of your wet clothes immediately after your run to stop hypothermia in its track.
8. Cool down – Do some cool down stretches indoors to relax tired muscles and aid in a swift recovery. Cooling off indoors will help your muscles cool off slowly.
9. Refuel – Make sure that you have a healthy post-workout snack after coming in from the cold. I find that I am often not hungry immediately after a run and will make a post-workout protein shake with North Coast Naturals protein powder and almond milk.
Jessica is a running addict over at lacesandlattes.com and posts training and nutrition tips for runners, goal setting and how to feed a latte addiction on the side. Stop by the fresh-brewed, bare-faced blog and share your running questions and stories.