5 Tips for Training Through the Winter

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Winter weather can be challenging, but don’t let the chilly temperatures derail your training. Here are five tips to help keep you moving and running through the winter months, and keep you Mission Ready for your next #RunWithTheMarines.

Find Your Tribe

Each winter I experience a phenomenon I unaffectionately call, “Winter Weight.” I’m not talking about pounds around my belly. Winter Weight refers to the smothering heaviness I feel as the motivation to run in 30-ish degree weather and total darkness, leaves my body. Admittedly, it’s so heavy sometimes I walk right back inside, curl up to the coffee pot, and figure out how I can eke out a run during limited daylight hours.

I’m a runner that needs a tribe.

Your tribe is the group of the like-minded people that keep you motivated and accountable to your goals. Running clubs, group fitness classes, even a training partner can lessen the burden of Winter Weight and keep you on track to meet your goals. You don’t experience Winter Weight?! Maybe you should start your own tribe. I guarantee there is a runner out there that would benefit from training with you. Who knows, you may even make a life-long friend in the process.

If you don't know where to look, I recommend checking out the running clubs at these three Pacers locations. Most host six or seven events each week.

  • Pacers Clarendon - 3100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201
    Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
    Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Sunday: 11 a.m. -5 p.m.
  • Pacers Alexandria - 1301 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
    Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
    Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Sunday: 12 p.m. -5 p.m.
  • Pacers Fairfax - 10420 North Street, Fairfax, VA 22030
    Monday: Closed
    Tuesday-Friday: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
    Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Sunday: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Channel Your Inner Ogre

Shrek has layers, so should you.

Keeping in mind that running raises your body temperature between 10 and 20 degrees, in the colder months it is still prudent to layer in brightly colored wind and water resistant layers, or thermal layers under your normal running attire when temps reach below freezing. Shy away from big, bulky jackets and sweats; you’ll be overheated before you know it. If you’re ever unsure, or perhaps traveling and need some advice, check out this handy tool from Runners World

You Still Have to Hydrate

A hot cup of coffee warms the body and soul on a cold winter’s day. I admit my fave coffee shop has my extra foamy, oat milk latte ready before I order. I’m not ashamed of treating myself, and you shouldn’t be either. But remember that nothing can replace the training and general health benefits of plain water. Don’t assume that because you’re not sweating as much you don’t need it. There’s plenty of what I call Insta-Science out there, touting hydration formulas, oxygenated water (I guess they never learned the molecular make-up of water), etc. Despite my penchant for bougie coffee, I like to keep my water simple and plentiful regardless of the season.

Don't Skip Your Warm-Up

Warming up before exercise is always a good idea. Warming up before exercise in the winter months is critical. Take a few extra minutes to allow your heart rate to gradually rise, increase the circulation to your muscles, move the synovial fluid around your joints, and ultimately get your mind right. There is plenty of evidence indicating warm-ups prevent injury and lead to increased flexibility. Dynamic warm-ups are best, as static stretching does little to elevate your heart rate. Not sure how to proceed? Our friends at Runners World have a plethora of recommendations.

Remember Why You Do It

You should be proud of yourself for getting up at 4 a.m. and training before dawn. Pat yourself on the back for working a full day then braving the elements to get those miles in. Share those accomplishments on social media, with your friends, co-workers, and family. Sure you my draw a few eye rolls from the haters, but the vast majority of people in your life will applaud your willpower and respect your dedication. You may even inspire someone to get out there and join you.

Written by Kate Kovatch

Kate Kovatch joined the MCM Organization in October 2019 as the event coordinator. She spent 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and ran the 32nd Marine Corps Marathon in 2007, hitting the wall during mile 19. Kate likes her husband, dogs and CrossFit and is currently working on counting her macros.

Thanks for visiting this archived blog. The content and details are specific only for the event year highlighted in this article. For current information, please visit the event page within the MCM website.