Most high-profile events of the year are past, yet there are still plenty of shorter races this season.
Thanksgiving is the most raced day in the United States, and then you often have races both on Christmas and New Years as well.
If you wish to perform to the best of your abilities at these events, you must continue training into these winter months to stay sharp. When comparing winter and summer training and racing, there are a number of considerations of which you must be mindful.
Simply put, running in the winter requires much greater mental attention than the summer. Much like some trail runs, if you’re running on some sketchy packed snow or ice, each step requires your utmost attention to make sure you step in the right place, weight your leg properly, and lift the foot off the ground safely.
As Alfred Wainwright said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” With the proper gear, one can run in just about any temperature. In the cold, this primarily means layering and windproof shells.
You’re going to run slower in the winter, don’t fight it. Just like technical trails or a hilly road route will slow you compared to a flat path; ice, snow, and wearing heavy apparel will all slow you down a bit. A great suggestion is to ditch the GPS and run purely by effort and time. Instead of going out for six miles, go out for an hour. Your body does not care if you record the exact pace or not, all it cares about is that you run easy when it’s an easy day.
Staying warm before a cold race is always a challenge. A good practice would be to over-dress before the event during the warmup and then ditch the clothing right before the start. You obviously do not want to dress too light if it’s very cold out, but you’ll warm up fast while racing.