Runners World Articles: Archives - December 2001
Use Your Imagination: There are scads of ways
to keep running happily through the winter. Here are 25
Most runners manage to log a respectable number of miles during
the spring, summer, and fall. But it takes a special breed of runner
to keep running through a cod, dark winter. This runner is not any
more talented or committed than the average Joe. But he does possess
one extra advantage: an imagination.
If you use your imagination, you'll find all sorts of strategies
that'll spice up your winter running. Try these 25 for starters:
When it's dark and cold. 1. Run with a friend-whether it
be two-legged or four. 2. Pick well-lighted streets in familiar
neighborhoods and wear lots of reflective gear. 3. Plan a midday
run at least once a week for some "sun time." 4. Scout
out areas where you can run and walk indoors, such as malls, sports
arenas, university fitness centers, or indoor tracks. 5. Keep your
winter layers all in one drawer so you don't have to hunt around
when it's time to run. 6. Prepare an extra bag packed with a cap,
gloves, tights, and any other winter gear you need, and have it
ready to take with you at a moment's notice. 7. Warm your running
clothes in the dryer just before putting them on.
When you need a boost. 8. Give yourself a reward (a new
pair of running shoes, a movie matinee, a cup of hot chocolate)
after completing a run on a day when you really didn't want to run.
9. If your running partners back out of a scheduled run, take your
cell phone along with you and call them for a quick "Hi!"
(and guilt trip) while you're on the road. 10. Schedule a running
trip to a warm-weather destination. 11. Watch a great running flick,
such as Prefontaine, Endurance, or Chariots of Fire.
When the weather is nasty. 12. Map out several short loop
courses around your house so that you can feel comfortably close
to home. You can always repeat the loop several times if the weather
improves. 13. Before you head out the door, tell yourself that you're
only running for 10 minutes-then go longer if you can. 14. On really
bad days, commit to only 5 minutes (even this amount will boost
your mood, according to research). 15. Warm up with indoor exercise
until your body temperature is elevated. This makes it easier to
face the elements. 16. Alternate between 5 to 10 minutes of an indoor
activity and 5 to 10 minutes of running outside for as long as you
When you need a reason to run. 17. Keep repeating to yourself,
"At least it's not hot outside." 18. Think of all the
holiday fat you're burning. 19. Remind yourself how mush easier
it'll be to get back into top shape once spring rolls around. 20.
Appreciate the self-respect you gain from sticking with your training
program. 21. Listen to the scientists: Regular exercise can chase
away the winter blues. 22. Notice how totally different your running
routes can llk in winter. 23. Buy some new winter running clothes
and gear; having to dress for colder weather gives you the perfect
excuse to shop. 24. Remember that you lose fitness two to three
times faster than you achieve it, so use it or lose it. 25. Note
that the Boston Marathon is only 4 months away.
Here are five fun fitness activities to try before you ring in
- Learn to enjoy one new type of exercise.
- Ask a friend to join you for a run on a day when that friend
wouldn't usually exercise.
- As a holiday present to yourself, join a health club that offers
equipment you know you'll use (and make sure the club has enough
- Do one more long run of at least an hour (with walk breaks if
you'd like) during the last week of the year.
- Pick a big race you'd love to run in 2002, mark it on your calendar,
send in the entry form, and start devising your training strategy.
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