Training for a marathon in the winter? Our pro shares her tips and tricks!

Hey there! I’m Colleen, a Sweaty Bands accountant by day and a marathon runner by night (or sometimes by morning depending on when I get my run in for the day!) I qualified for the Boston Marathon in October of 2013 and am excited to run it for the first time this April. Although I have run three marathons prior to this upcoming Boston, each of those has taken place in the fall – meaning training during the heat of the summer. Since the Boston Marathon is a spring race, a huge chunk of my training has taken place (and will continue to take place) in these bitter winter months. I’m deep into the training cycle right now, and want to provide some tips to those of you who struggle with the cold…I know I certainly do sometimes! You have two options when it comes to winter running: brave the elements outside or stay warm on a treadmill. So far, I’ve found that my training has been about 50/50 indoors vs. outdoors. Some days I don’t have the courage to brave the cold conditions, but other days the fight against boredom on the treadmill seems more daunting. If you decide to run on the treadmill (or Mother Nature forces you to!), my top suggestion is to have the best playlist you’ve ever created at your disposal – i.e., songs that you know will get you pumped up and keep you on the move. I like to use my music to determine my workout on the treadmill. I’ll pick a slower warm-up speed to start with and then increase my pace or incline with every song change. Another strategy I use to help pass the time on the treadmill is to use a towel to cover up the dashboard after I set my initial speed. This prevents me from spending the entire time watching the time and distance slowly creep up. There isn’t much that goes by more slowly than a minute spent on the treadmill. And luckily, most gyms have TVs in front of them that you can divert your attention to. Even if I’m listening to music, I enjoy reading the news headlines and closed captioning scrolling across the screens. However, if you do choose to venture outside, running in the cold temperatures is all about layering and having the right gear. A fleece-lined shirt with a moisture-wicking base layer is what I have found works best for me, especially with one of the shirts having a higher neckline to leave as little exposed skin as possible. I occasionally will wear 2 pairs of socks, as well as a pair or 2 of gloves. There is nothing worse than running with a feeling of numbness in your fingers or toes! Besides just clothing, there are a few other items that are worth your investment for winter running. Most importantly, with the shortened hours of daylight, you will need reflective gear or blinking lights to attach to your clothes so you are visible to cars. I personally do not have a headlamp, but I know a lot of runners who love them to help see the ground in front of them as they run in the dark, as well as stay visible. Instead, I typically reach for our Sweaty Bands Reflective Runner headbands to stay safe, which not only work to keep my hair back but also produce a great reflective glare! Those are just some of the tips and tricks I’ve come to learn through my years of running – I hope you find them helpful! Happy running and stay warm!
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