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Keeping Up With A Winter Running Routine

Keeping Up With A Winter Running Routine

By Melanie Danklefsen, PT, DPT, CMP

Myth: Winter is a good time to take a break from running.

Fact: Winter is a great time to maintain running baseline and address the little things to help you run strong.

Winter, especially in Michigan, is a typical downtime between major fall and spring races. Although the weather is cold and snowy and invites one to stay inside wrapped up in a warm blanket, it is a great time to self-assess, set goals, and build a solid foundation for the upcoming running season. It is a great time to help make you a stronger runner by building strength and balance, increasing flexibility, and improving form.

Maintaining your baseline (at minimum) is important during the winter in order to not have to “start from scratch” once the weather turns more favorable. There are reasons from an energy and endurance perspective to not always be in “race mode” but rather “health mode.” This allows your body/muscles a break and time to recover without completely having to stop running or working out. Outdoor winter running takes thought and preparation – dressing in layers and warming up your muscles, hydration, proper shoes for warmth and traction, and a good cool down. Alternatives to outdoor winter running for cardiovascular maintenance include taking it indoors with treadmills, cycling, swimming, stair masters, and even aquatic running.

But what about those little things? It is proven that cross training becomes an important factor in being able to run strong. Building a solid foundational core for stability helps to maintain form, while a stronger backside (glutes/hips) are needed to help you during push off in order to run more efficiently. Improved posture aids in better breathing and efficiency with running. Working to correct daily posture can result in better running posture. Increased flexibility helps in absorbing impact upon landing during foot strike and helps to generate the force needed to propel you forward when running.

Although these little things can seem big, there is no better way to begin or continue than with good support from a friend or group. Get involved with the RunSTRONG class at Generation Care and don’t let the winter blues get you down.

Also, be sure to mark July 12, 2019, on your calendar for the 3rd Annual RunSTRONG 5k! Registration will be available soon.