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7 strategies for winter race training

Despite the dropping temperatures, if you've signed up for a race in the early part of 2017, you've got to get out and train. As long as you’re strategic and keep your safety in mind, you can still get in those training runs and get to the start line prepped and ready to race.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Get the Right Gear:

An excuse to buy new workout gear? You betcha! If you’re not wearing the right gear and you’re cold and uncomfortable, those miles will be extra hard and you’ll be tempted to cut them short. If you’re properly dressed, you’ll get those miles done. For starters, invest in the basics: fleece-lined leggings (2XU Hyoptik Mid-Rise Thermal Tight), a breathable yet warm top (New Balance M4M Seamless Cable Pullover), ear warmers (Lululemon Run With Me Ear Warmer), and gloves (Nike Therma-Fit Elite 2.0).

Have a Backup Plan:

An outdoor run may not be in the cards each day. Keep a close eye on the weather and anticipate the best days for the week ahead to run. If it is too cold, snowy or rainy, don’t skip your workout altogether, go to your backup plan. Treadmills can be a bore for long runs, but keep things interesting with an interval routine or visit a studio that includes treadmill work (try Equinox’s Precision Running, Orangetheory Fitness, Elevate Interval Fitness, Blast). If you can’t bear to be on the treadmill, look to your cross-training workouts for the worst weather days (spin, yoga, HIIT classes).

Consider Your Safety:

As dedicated as you are to your training and racing goals, don’t push yourself to the point of potential injury. If it’s icy out, it may be best to skip your outdoor run and wait for the roads to be safer. If you think you can take on the snowy streets, keep a very close eye on where you’re stepping to avoid a twisted ankle.

Enlist a Training Buddy:

One of the toughest parts of winter training is the dark early mornings. Not only will a run buddy make you less likely to skip out on a run, it’s safer to run in pairs when it’s dark.

Stay Hydrated:

In the summer heat it’s a no brainer to load up on H2O, but when it’s chilly, a bottle of water is probably not the first thing you think to reach for, but it should be. Hydration in the winter is just as important in the summer so make sure to keep drinking water. If you’re looking for hydration assistance and plain water isn’t your thing, check out nuun tablets. Each tablet only has 10 calories, gives your water a hint of flavor and provides an electrolyte boost.

Warm Up:

As much as you may want to sprint through your workout to get it over with faster, warming up is key in the colder months. If you want to limit the amount of time you’re exposed to the elements, do your warm ups inside. They can be as simple as squats, jumping jacks, walking lunges and butt kicks--anything to get your body warmed up and ready for work.

Allow Yourself to Feel like the Bad*ss that you are:

Waking up pre-dawn and running in the snow and cold is no joke; allow yourself to feel the pride that comes along with getting it done. Treat yourself to a cozy post-run coffee and remind yourself that nothing will get in your way to get prepped for that big race.