What is the Difference Between Winter & Summer Training?
Well, the most obvious answer would be the temperature, but I realize you are looking for more substance than that. When I first started running, I was told to put on my shoes and go run. That is all well and good if you are in a moderate climate…but we are in the mid-west. Mother Nature is the most fluctuating, bi-polar female I know. One day, its 70 degrees and within 24 hours we have winter storm advisories. So, what are some the differences in the trainings?
Let’s start with Clothing. You really need to know your body type. If you run hot, you may want thin layers to run in during the winter that can easily be taken off. You might also think of adding a vest for your core (one with pockets are my favorite). My legs never seem to feel the cold, but you’ll never see me without mittens and a hat. In the summer, I tend to overheat during training. A cooling towel and visor are my go-to apparel choices. I try to wear a brim on my hat and sunscreen. I love the vitamin D (especially in the winter), but I have enough freckles already.
You can find all of your winter and summer apparel at all 3 of The Running Well Stores, shop in store or online!!
Hydration. I know a lot of folks are very efficient with their water intake, but after you swallow that one bug in the summer…you start appreciating rinsing your mouth out with those hydration bottles you are carrying. In the winter, runners don’t think to drink as much because they feel cooler. However, look at any frost covered skull cap during those winter runs and you’ll see that folks are still sweating. Hydration is just as important in the winter training months as they are in the summer.
Shoes! Last winter, I fell a couple of times on the ice. The older I get, the slower I get back up off the ground. You know that moment you are laying still on the ground doing the silent health check. Let’s see…bones still intact…check…anything bleeding…check…world has stopped spinning…check. I absolutely love my trail shoes for those snowy/icy moments. There are a lot of trails around us that are not asphalt. Those trail shoes will help to get more traction. And don’t forget those trails during those hot summer runs! The shade really can make a difference in helping keep you feeling just a little cooler. For men’s or women’s trail shoes, shop below!
Time of Day. In the winter months, it is harder to get out first thing in the morning. Everything refreezes overnight…and it is so dark. Turning over in bed while hitting the snooze button is just too easy to do. Try changing up your schedule to run in the afternoon or at lunch. In the summer, I would literally run at 4am if it meant it was 10 degrees cooler. I have a few friends that crave that hot summer sun that hits at noon. Bless their hearts…I won’t run with them in the summer.
Accountability. Yes, this is probably the key ingredient to both winter and summer training. Find a group run, a running club, or a Facebook running group to be in. Follow The Running Well Store on Facebook or Instagram for upcoming group runs. Yes, we need to be smart when the weather is too intense, but with the right accountability, you can train in almost any weather. I have 2 amazing running buddies, Toby (the terrified terrier) and Rosie (the crazy Aussie). They don’t care what the temperature is like outside. Rosie loves to wake me up before my alarm to inform me that it’s time to exercise. You can also try putting a race on your calendar because it encourages you to stick to a training plan. Might as well keep up on your training year-round. I once paced a marathon where around mile 13 a young man told me that his longest training run was 12 miles (aah…youth). Though he decided to run on ahead all pumped up on that youthful bravado, our group passed him as he was walking at mile 20. Training is important so you can enjoy the race (as well as prevent unnecessary injuries). Whoever or whatever you chose to use, there is greater success when you have some type of accountability.
WEATHER!! Have you ever looked at the weather and noticed the bad weather is always on the group run nights or on your scheduled long run? Give yourself options, a plan B, try the dreadmill, or maybe just a little grace on the plan. To me, the perfect time to run is around 5:30 am when it is 45 degrees out. Unfortunately, I will probably only find that desired training run in the spring or fall. So mentally, I need to adjust my thinking for more extreme temperatures. In the summer, the heat takes more out of you so in turn, you will run slower…be okay with that! In the winter, you may have to shorten your stride to keep from slipping across the path…be okay with that! If we have learned anything over the last couple of years is that life is unpredictable…so we must adjust…just don’t quit! Training is not race day so be okay if it’s not what you “expected.” Allow yourself to see just what new adventures winter and summer training can provide.
About The Author
Katrina Jones started running in 2008. Before then, the only thing she knew about running was through sports in high school. After her first 5k, she got hooked and kept running farther. She is now a Marathon Maniac and part of the 50 States club where she has about half of the states left to run. She became a running coach and love the couch to 5k program. She also helps pace races so that she can encourage people to cross the finish line at marathons. She may not be the fastest runner out there, but truly enjoys what she does.
The Running Well Store is the premier running specialty store in Kansas City/Lee’s Summit, Missouri and Mission, Kansas! We are a locally owned business that has been in operation since 2006. You can shop in store or online. Our tagline is THE PLACE FOR EVERY PACE as we want all walkers, runners, newbies, veterans, and people who work on their feet all day to feel welcome. We know that there are a lot of options for footwear on the market and deciding what model is the right one for your needs is not easy. We are here for you! You can come into one of our three locations (Lee’s Summit, Northland, and Mission, KS) for a free stride analysis. No appointment necessary, but if you would like to schedule an appointment, click here. We take in-person and virtual fittings. Want to do research online? We have a find my fit tool that will help narrow down footwear options. We hope to hear from you soon!