While running is my main sport, I really love other types of fitness training too. It’s great because cross-training is really important when training for a race so I never have to completely give anything else up. Cross-training or doing other activities besides running helps build strength and flexibility, stops boredom, and prevents injury. It’s also very easy in these cold winter months to be convinced to workout indoors (where you can even wear shorts and pretend it’s not below-freezing outside!). Here are some of my favorite ways to cross-train:
Yoga: I love doing hot yoga and vinyasa yoga at least once a week. It is a great way for me to warm up my muscles and focus on lengthening and flexibility while also building strength. Sometimes the classes are more about my mental wellness and a relaxing rather than being strictly a workout.
Running in the winter can be tough, especially if you are in an area like the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic regions where we get hit with snow, ice, and even big blizzards (Hello, Storm Jonas!). Sometimes it’s tougher to convince yourself to suit up and get out the door to stay on track with training for spring races like the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. Here are some of my tips to make sure that I stay motivated and stick to my training plans through the winter months.
1.Buy the proper gear.
If you are going to be running outside in the winter make sure you have some warm-layering essentials and accessories including socks, gloves and a hat. I like to layer a tank top tucked into some cold weather long tights and layer a half zip plus a shell coat on top and finish it off with gloves and a hat or fleece headband. Keep everything by the door or laid out the night before so you aren’t scrambling to find what you need in the morning.
2. Join a local running group or make it a date.
One of my biggest motivators for getting out the door on cold, dark winter mornings is having someone to meet up with. Find a local running group that meets at specific times or make a date with a friend to go for a run. If you are meeting someone, you are far less likely to hit the snooze button and miss a run!
3. Keep your spring goals in mind.
If you have signed up for a race like the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run or have a spring racing goal in mind, mark your calendar or print out a countdown of how many days it is until the race. Also print out your training plan and mark off each run you complete. Keep in mind your target race or how it will feel when you accomplish your goal every run as motivation.
4. Have a backup plan.
Sometimes running outside in the winter may not be an option for you. If you belong to a local gym, be prepared to complete a treadmill workout. I also like to keep a bunch of at-home strength and cardio workout DVDs and Youtube videos on hand. If I can’t get a run in I can at least do some cross-training or just switch my training schedule around for the week.
5. Make your long runs an event.
Getting in my longer runs is the biggest challenge for me in the in winter so I like to create little rituals for myself to stay motivated. After my weekend long runs I like to treat myself to a coffee or hot chocolate and a breakfast snack. It seems silly but having that big mug of hot chocolate and a bagel is sometimes motivation enough to get my miles for the day done. Treat yourself to something small on your long run days, and it can be something to look forward to all week. It could also be getting a manicure or taking time to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see-only after you finish your run!
What’s up with this weather, huh? Not very conducive to outdoor training! Good news – I’ve got a great way for y’all to keep up your cardio without stomping through the snow and ice: spinning!
So, here’s the exciting news: I’ve teamed with Biker Barre to host a Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run Charity Ride! With a $14 donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (classes at Biker Barre are normally $22 per class!) you will get a seat in the class, a 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race t-shirt, a great cross training workout, and best of all, you’ll sweat for a great cause!
Spinning is a wonderful cross training workout, whether you’re training for your next race, or recovering from one.
Spinning adds variety to your workouts.
Spinning is low impact and will give your joints a break.
Spinning will help you strengthen muscles that you don’t use as much when you’re running.
I started spinning as a way to maintain my cardio after developing an injury from my first marathon. Spinning was a welcomed change – and it only took a few weeks before I learned to love it. Three years later, I’m an avid spinner and instructor, sharing my love for the bike at a local studio in Capitol Hill: Biker Barre.
The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a non-profit international organization that helps to treat millions of children across the U.S. and Canada. Every dollar that you donate will support research and training, and will pay for uncompensated care that saves and improves the lives of as many children as possible.
You want in? Great! Here are the details:
Date: Saturday, March 7th
Where: Biker Barre: 738 7th Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003 (The closest metro stop is Eastern Market Metro. There is also street parking available.)
How to reserve a spot in the class: The only way to reserve a spot is to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Cherry Blossom Run Charity Ride” and tell them you would like to reserve a bike with Lauren R. They will send you an email confirmation of your reservation, as well as a link back to this site so you can donate. Please make sure to email email@example.com BEFORE donating to ensure you get a spot in the class.
More details about the ride:
Never been to Biker Barre? That’s ok! The only thing we will need from you is to sign our liability waiver. You can do this ahead of time by creating an account online here and click on the ‘sign-up’ link at the top of the page (you do not need to sign up for a class, just create an account.) Every rider must sign this waiver.
Already been to Biker Barre? You’re all set 🙂
Arrival Time: Plan to arrive fifteen minutes before the class. You will need time to sign in and set up your bikes.
What to Bring: Just bring water – we’ve got the towels for during and after class!
What to Wear: Wear comfortable workout clothes. Try to avoid pants that are too loose and flowy. Normal workout-appropriate sneakers will work just fine.
To Donate: Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation please click the “Support Me” button on the top of this page.
Lauren is a midwesterner-turned-DC-transplant who still geeks out every time she runs down The National Mall. She is happiest with her camera in hand and loves to cook up delicious recipes for her food blog, Just a Pinch (www.justapinchblog.com). When not crunching numbers as a non-profit financial analyst, Lauren is teaching spinning, running the streets of Capitol Hill with her lab, Gus, or continuing her studies towards becoming a Registered Dietitian. This will be her third Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run and she’s got her eyes on a PR! Follow her adventures on Twitter + Instagram.
Hopefully the weather will be gorgeous on April 12, but as I start training for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run it is cold, dark, and sometimes dreary when I head out for my o’dark-thirty runs. Luckily this area has so many beautiful places to run, my efforts to get out there despite the weather are often rewarded with gorgeous sunrises, breathtaking views of the monuments, or surprising views of natural beauty. If you need inspiration to bundle up and get your run in, check out some of these routes.
5K or 5 Miles
Park at the Iwo Jima Memorial and run towards the Memorial Bridge, along the sidewalk parallel to Route 110 (with Arlington National Cemetery on your right). Head over the bridge to the Lincoln Memorial (loop around to the left for cross walks and walk (run?) signals). An out-and-back to the front side of the Lincoln Memorial will be about 5K (a bit over 3 miles). For a longer run (about 5 miles), continue along the Reflecting Pool, past the World War II Memorial, and loop around the Washington Monument.
5 or 9 Miles
Park at Gravelly Point (along the G.W. Parkway between Ronald Reagan National Airport and the 14th Street Bridge), and run along the Mount Vernon Trail to the 14th Street Bridge. Run across the 14th Street Bridge, head over towards the Jefferson Memorial, and run around Tidal Basin, passing through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. When you get back to the Jefferson Memorial, retrace your route over the bridge and back to Gravelly Point. This route is about 5 miles. You can make it 4 miles longer–and get a preview of what I think is the hardest part of the Cherry Blossom course–by adding a loop around Hains Point.
For more bucolic views, run an out-and-back route of any distance along the C&O canal, which starts in Georgetown (park under the Key Bridge or park at Roosevelt Island and run over the Key Bridge) or the southern end of the Mount Vernon Trail (park at any of the parks between Old Town and Mount Vernon).
I hope this gives you some motivation to get out there and enjoy the sights along your runs. For even more motivation, sign up for the virtual training program presented by New Balance here or the PR in-person training program here.
I’ve been hard pressed to get out and do any “decent mileage” runs in quite some time. During winter months, I normally will run 2-3 miles at most because that’s about all I can handle boredom-wise when running on a treadmill.
With the “polar vortex” we’ve been experiencing here in PA, winter just doesn’t seem to be letting up! But with only just over 2 more months until the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run— it’s time to get back in the saddle!
Whether you’re like me and take a hiatus during winter months, or you’re just coming off an injury related break– the first time you lace up those shoes and strap on that Garmin can be quite frustrating with regards to time/pace. But I do try to keep it in perspective. Here are 4 things I’ve done to try and keep myself in check:
1. Keep it in Perspective
There have been so many times that I have been ready to just throw in the towel. It’s not even funny. Throwing hissy fits within myself because I didn’t finish my (for example) 5 miles “fast enough.” How about let’s keep it in perspective—I was ABLE to run 5 miles! Some people aren’t fortunate enough to be able to say that. Some would give anything to be able to run one.
2. Find a Newer Runner to Share in the Experience
I started running in December 2010. I ran my first half marathon in October 2011. I have since run 3 other half marathons, but I’m telling you, I have YET to feel the same runners high as I did when I completed my very FIRST one. It’s still there, but just not as intense. Because of that, I felt like my love affair with running was waning a tad bit.
What renewed my enjoyment in running has been living vicariously through others as they complete their “running firsts” milestones! I have several friends who are planning to run their very first 5k this year, and I plan on being there for each one!
3. Make It a Family Affair
This actually kind of pairs well with number two for me. My daughter Mackenzie (she’s 10)will sometimes join me on my runs. It makes it not so much about the running as it is about picking a healthy activity to be done with your family. We actually practice her spelling words while we run! Plus (and this is how it pairs with #2) – we have the opportunity to hit new milestones together. Slowly I would increase the distance or the time that Kenzer and I spent running. And before I knew it, she had run her very first 5K with me last year! This past Thanksgiving, we ran her second “Turkey Trot 5K”- and she shaved a full 5 MINUTES off her time!
4. If All Else Fails Say “Screw it”
Now not so fast– make sure you read this in it’s entirety—I’m not saying stop running altogether. Or giving up. I’m saying take the pressure off yourself. Leave the Garmin at home. Don’t start the running app on your phone. Just go out and enjoy it. Remember why you started running in the first place, and reflect on how far you’ve come to this point. You’ll slowly get back to where you left up, but enjoy the journey until you get there.
See you out there friends!
Any more words of advice for the good of the cause? Do you run year round, or take time off during winter?
I am going to be training for spring and summer races during the winter and I have to dress in layers. Dressing this way will help me regulate my body temperature as I run. My first winter training run I overdressed and became overheated by the end of the run. I had dressed for the weather not the run. I failed to take into consideration that I would warm up as the run progressed. I was HOT!
I run early in the morning so the temperatures are rather low when I start. I’ve run in single digit weather and I was worried about not being warm enough. My first run was around 12 degrees or so. I was a novice and I did not know what to expect. I planned for the worst and was hoping for the best.
I had on 3 shirts, a jacket, and 2 pairs of pants, gloves, hat, and ear warmers. I was warm when I started and felt like I was boiling when it ended. Panting like a dog, gasping for air and in need of water. What had I done? Was I trying to internally cook myself? I got to the car and started stripping right away. I had a few onlookers watching my striptease. I did not care I was trying to cool down, not put on a show. I have since learned from that. I dress in layers.
When I run this winter I will dress accordingly. I have thermal compression pants and shirt, a jacket and vest. I am a little chilly when I start running but the end of the run my temperature is regulated. NO striptease necessary!
Do you train in the winter for warm weather races? If so, how do you dress for your runs?
Francine has a love of family, fitness, fashion and fun. She is on a journey to become a better runner, eat healthier, get fit as a family and show off her fashion sense all while having fun. She is the mother of 2 boys, works full-time and is a recent grad. She believes that Hard Work = Results and staying Positive gets you there.