Well, it’s here. The holiday season is here and winter is in full swing. It’s so easy to just hibernate and take a break from running until Spring, but you shouldn’t.
In my opinion, the biggest downside to taking a break from running in the winter is coming back to it in the Spring. Your aerobic fitness is lack luster, you feel rushed to get ready for spring races and it takes weeks for running to actually be enjoyable again.
Do Other Things
Most of us focus our training around weekly mileage and everything takes a back seat. Use the winter months to dabble in other interests while still maintaining a running base (see next point). Try out a new yoga class, lift heavy weights, go check out crossfit or barre. This will help you feel like you aren’t really training as much as you are just keeping a routine workout schedule. I find when I try new things other than running, I love running even more because it is the one thing I don’t have to think about and always know how to do because I’ve been doing it for so long.
Maintaining is so much easier than starting from square one. Ever take a couple weeks off from running then struggle for a week to get back where you were before you took the break? Yea, ain’t nobody got time for that. Think about where you want to be in your running journey then ask yourself how you will get there. Chances are you need to maintain a base then build from there.
Some folks like the to take the winter months as their off season and that makes so much sense to me. I think this is a great time to focus on strength training so when you want to ramp up the mileage for Spring races your body can handle the stress without the risk of injury. I find that channeling my energy into something else other than weekly mileage leaves me satisfied.
Ya’ll know I love to race, but winter races can be fun too! Treat them as fun runs, schedule brunch with friends afterwards, make them a day date with your spouse, use them to test out your fitness, try a new distance, etc. Do whatever it takes for you to get your miles in for the week. I like to use them as milestones for other things. If I know I won’t feel motivated to run in late January because the weather is gray during that time, then I will look for a local race. I will be less likely to DNS than I would be to just sleep in and skip a run. I won’t want to let myself down by not starting a race and I won’t want to eat the entry fee.
This is my favorite! Look for races in warmer places during months when you know you won’t want to brave the climate where you live. Not only can you make a racecation out of it, but it can serve as a milestone for a bigger goal down the line.
Whether you plan to chase a new PR or distance this Spring or just want to maintain your fitness, I hope these tips help you get to where you want to go.
How do you stay motivated in winter?
Do you take these months as your off season?