Winter – a time to hibernate, stay indoors on those cold dark evenings and give those running shoes a much-needed rest, right? You can, but you’d be missing out on some of the best running experiences. Running in winter is a joy – here are seven reasons why.
Whether running on a hard frost, snow or just against a sun that’s low on the horizon, wintertime provides some magical landscapes that are a joy to run through. And it usually means fewer people around to spoil the view, so get out there and enjoy.
Kilian Jornet enjoys training in a winter landscape. © zooom.at/bergermarkus.com
Running at night
Running at night brings its own rewards. Arm yourself with a decent headtorch, hit your favorite trails and you’ll be amazed by how different the experience seems. Discover your noctural inner self and enjoy the new view it gives. Running at night is also good for your running. Less reliant on vision for foot placement, it forces you to tune into your other senses. Click here to see what Suunto ambassador Gediminas Grinius has to say about it.
When you exercise in the cold you burn more calories. Consider it a free ticket to eat more cake – and other calorific goodies. Stuck for inspiration. Check out Emelie Forsberg’s homemade recipes for buns, pancakes and cookies. “The classic saffron bun for Christmas or Lucia is my favorite. I can eat so many of them,” she says. Get the recipe here.
Getting hot and steamy
Never has the sauna or steam room felt so good as after a winter run. With Suunto’s global HQ situated in Helsinki Finland – the cultural capital of saunas – we are naturally huge fans of them. Deep sweating has numerous health benefits, from recovery to flushing toxins from your system. And after you just jumped in an ice bath or dived in some snow, you’ll appreciate them as hot as possible.
Focus on strength training
In summer there’s really no excuse for getting outside, which is why winter is such a good opportunity to focus on body conditioning and strength training. Get yourself down to the gym and sign up to some circuit training, pilates or weights – and you’ll feel the benefits in time for spring. Good things to work on for runners include pelvic stability, core strength and stretching.
Yes, sometimes the only way to get stronger is to rest. Like really rest and recover from that recurring injury. It’s something Suunto ambassador Ryan Sandes knows about. He’s currently taking some time off training to get back to full strength. “It’s a common worry that if you can't train you will lose your fitness and not be ready for an upcoming race, but I believe often the body knows best, and the time off from training helps it to fully recover and get strong,” he told us recently. Read the full article here.
Focus on technique
Winter is not a time to focus on personal bests, not when the ground’s muddy or there’s snow underfoot. So don’t fight it – embrace it and use the slower pace to focus on your running technique. If you have a good and balanced form you should be able to run on ice, over wet slippery wooden bridges or through mud and broken ground without problem. Try to imagine a straight line between where your foot lands, your hip and shoulder. More important than whether you heel strike or forefoot strike is where the foot lands in relation to the rest of your body. For more technique tips from Carmichael Training Systems, follow this link.
Main image: © zooom.at/bergermarkus.com