Winter Running: Stride and Strategy

Winter running is different than just running, so don’t lose heart if you have tried to run as a New Year’s resolution and are finding it rather difficult. 

The thing about winter running is that your body is working twice as hard to maintain your body temperature in addition to trying to do the physical workout that you have in mind. It is not uncommon to be able to run a trail one day and the very next day not be able to complete. This doesn’t mean your body hasn’t gotten a workout, it just means it took more energy to maintain your body’s temperature than it did the previous day. 

Keeping this in mind, here are some tips about strategy and stride during your cold journey:

  • Strategy: If you haven’t yet discovered, running is as much as a mental endeavor as a physical endeavor. One of the things that you have to consider is that there is different strategy for different terrains. As you approach a hill, you need to get your mind and body ready for the climb. This means slowing your breathing, slowing your pace. Inevitably, your heart starts beating more quickly as you see what’s ahead, so you have to counteract what your body naturally does in order to have the energy that you need to overcome the hill. 
  • Stride: As you approach a hill, try stepping with your toes first. This engages the quad muscle first and then your hamstring to follow up to complete the stride. On the downhill, you want to step with your heel first engaging your hamstring first and letting your quad finish the stride. Adjusting and concentrating on your stride will allow a cross-training experience and will allow you not to overuse the same muscles and tend toward injury. 

I hope this is helpful for you as you think about extending your running distance and ability. 

Happy Strategizing and Striding!