Keeping up your running routine during winter can be a challenge—with icy pavement, freezing temperatures, and holiday parties wreaking havoc on your training plan.
Which is why the Run SMART Project, Finish Line Physical Therapy, and Brooklyn Running Co. teamed up to create the new Winter Running Program, a 12-week training plan that’s personalized and comes with injury prevention measures and cold-weather shoe consultation and education. “We’re trying to really focus on staying healthy and motivated—and also getting faster,” says running coach and Run SMART Project founder Brian Rosetti.
To help you achieve all of those goals, we asked Rosetti to share some of the expertise used in creating the Winter Running Program. Keep these five tips in mind next time you’re lacing and bundling up… —Lisa Elaine Held
(Photo: Facebook/Run SMART Project)
When streets are slick, you want to go with a trail shoe over a road shoe, Rosetti says. Some shopping tips: Choose something with a softer rubber sole; harder rubber will get even harder in the cold, worsening the shoe’s grip. And make sure the tread pattern is wide and open as opposed to tight. “Snow packs up in tight treads, and then there’s no traction,” he explains. “Then you’re kind of on skis at that point.” Save that for the mountain.
Running in the snow (or hopping around ice patches) is harder and will take you longer, so rather than running for miles, run for time (i.e., an hour instead of 5 miles), Rosetti recommends. This way, you won’t exhaust yourself based on your fair-weather pace. You should also start out slower than you normally would, since it’s going to take longer for your muscles to warm up. “Just expect that your pace is going to be slower, and get used to that in the winter,” he says.
If you’re going to run an out-and-back, figure out the direction of the wind before you get moving (especially if you’re running on a really windy water route, like New York’s West Side Highway). “If the wind’s at your back on the way out, you generally get really warm and start to sweat and then when you come back, you’re going to be slower and wet with sweat, which will make you freezing,” Rosetti explains. So as unappealing as it may be, run into the wind first, then coast home with it at your back.
“More serious runners are wary of the treadmill because they think it’s not as good of a workout,” Rosetti says. Even though it may be less exciting than checking out the cast of characters in Central Park, it’s a solid option for days when it’s just too treacherous outside. And if you don’t have access to a treadmill, give yourself a break rather than breaking a leg. “If you’re sore, a little sick, or it’s really snowing, just take the day off. It’s safer,” he says. “You can miss up to five days in a row and be comfortable with the fact that you haven’t lost any fitness.”
It may sound counter-intuitive, but sweat-wicking is even more important when temperatures drop, because if your shirt is wet and sticking to you, you’ll be extra, extra freezing, making it hard to keep going. The key is your base layer: make sure to wear technical fabrics that will soak up your sweat against your skin.
(Photo: Facebook/Nike Running)