3 Tips for Winter Marathon Training

winter runner

If you haven’t run outdoors in the winter it’s a great time of year to get outside and lace up your running shoes. Particularly, if you’re training for a marathon or want to stay active during the cold winter months, winter running is invigorating and rewarding.  

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These tips apply for long distance running any type of year, but are especially helpful in the winter months:

1. Drink enough water

Typically, runners need about 6-8 ounces of water or a sports drink for every 15-20 minutes of exercise. While you might not feel as thirsty when it’s cold, your body still needs fluids for replenishment. 

If you’re training for a spring or summer marathon, such as the Ogden Marathon in May, be aware that your body might not be acclimated to warm weather running when temperatures can reach 80 degrees. 

Make sure you’re staying hydrated on cold weather training runs – and practice carrying water with you so you’ll be ready on race day in warmer weather. 

2. Be prepared for the elements

When planning your winter running clothes, don’t overdress. The last thing you want is to sweat too much and get a chill. According to Runner’s World, wear fabric that wick’s sweat away and includes zippers. This article explains what to wear at various winter temperatures when running

If you’re running in ice or snow, wear a traction device on your shoe and slow down. If the conditions are too dangerous, take your workout indoors or do some cross training. Winter sports like cross country skiing and skate skiing help build stamina and endurance that will benefit you next time you run. 

Lastly, when you’re running outside in dark conditions, it’s very difficult for cars to see you. Always carry a flashlight when the light is dim and wear reflective clothing. 

3. Increase your mileage slowly

Tres Ferrin, a physician therapist at McKay-Dee Hospital recommends that when you start training (especially if you’ve never run a marathon before) to take your time building up mileage.

Rather than rushing into a full marathon, do shorter races first and follow the 10 percent rule, which states that a runner should not increase mileage or time running more than 10 percent per week. Many of the injured runners or cyclists seen in physical therapy have not applied that principle and they ultimately break down and are injured. 

In Northern Utah, the GOAL Foundation Winter Training Circuit is a great base to train slowly and run the Ogden marathon or half marathon, or for those who have a larger base, to prepare for the marathon. The training starts in February. You can mark it on your calendar using this link