1. Dress Warm: Obviously this one seems like common sense, but many people forget that dressing warm requires more than just a base layer, jacket, and hat/gloves. Adding Gortex shoes and Smartwool socks to your inventory can really lengthen the amount of time you’re able to spend outside since they wick away wetness and keep your feet warm.
2. Stay Lit: Since daylight is extremely limited, your day runs may be looking more like night runs. In order to stay safe on the roads and trails; donning a reflective vest or headlamp really helps you see where you’re going as well as reminding the cars that you are out there.
3. Stretching: Yes it is a pain in the butt, and yes it takes extra time but with weather conditions usually being icy and cold your body needs to be warmed up before you attack the outdoors. Doing some light stretches or core exercises prepares the muscles in your body to fire appropriately, so even if you end up on a route with bad footing, your muscles will help stabilize you and prevent you from overcompensating compared to if you had gone out without a warmup.
4. Adjust Paces: When it comes to winter mileage, the goal is to focus more on maintaining your aerobic engine vs. fine-tuning it with speedwork. If you are looking to go fast, a treadmill or indoor track can suffice; but if you’re out on the roads it’s all about effort. Focus on heart rate training as opposed to mile-splits and enjoy the mental aspect of getting tougher as you tackle the elements head on!