You probably know the feeling: During the winter months running outside is often a bit harder especially when you live in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures drop, snow falls and street and trails are frozen and slippery on some days. Also the Christmas activities and the arrival of a new year sets the focus more on spending time with friends and family and often eating way too much. After these weeks or months as it’s getting warmer outside a lot of runners go back to their regular running activities. If you struggle to get back after the winter slump, here are some tips for you:
Lace up your running shoes and head out for a late winter walk. Choose a beautiful sunny day and walk one of your favorite running routes. Look around and notice how your surrounding has changed during the weeks you weren’t running. This is a simple trick to bring back the good running memories you’ve collected here. Your excitement will most probably come back that way and you can’t wait to go back running.
After some weeks without sports your body needs to adapt again to the strain you put on it. So take it easy when you start again with regular running. Don’t run five times during your first week, two runs is enough to get started. And don’t start with speed training or other intense workouts right way.
Another trick to get the excitement back is to start again with running on a beautiful day. It’s not that motivating for the most of us when a first run of the year is in heavy rain or fog.
If your body is not used to regular training and it is still pretty cold outside the risk of getting injured is higher than usual. So give warming up and cooling down after a run special attention. You can do some stretching while you are still inside or jump around for a minute. And make sure to start running at an easy pace. Stretch your leg and hip muscles thoroughly an hour after your run.
Don’t focus on getting faster and run your regular amount of weekly miles in your first weeks. Do one or two runs and focus on recovery. Go for a next run only when you have fully recovered from your first run. Sleep enough, stretch, get a massage or use a foam roller to increase blood flow to your tired muscles and of course eat healthy.
As a rule of thumb for every week you didn’t run you need two weeks to get back to the same level. So don’t start with the weekly mileage of your last training week. Slowly build up your training volume over a period of several weeks and check how your body reacts to the training runs.
Another way to work on your endurance is to cross train. In the winter months and when trying to get back to regular working out you can do some cross training. Training sessions on a home trainer or swimming is as good for your cardio-vascular system as running but is more gentle on your joints.
What is your routine of getting back after a winter break?