Improve Your Running Indoors This Winter

October 1 | Posted by The SportsAndFamily.com Staff | Training

The onset of winter can pose numerous challenges to runners who make running outdoors their preferred and regular routine for maintaining their fitness training program. As the temperatures drop and daylight hours become shorter, running outdoors requires additional planning in order have a safe run and avoid injuries. Standard safety practices such as maintaining hydration and dressing correctly to accommodate the temperature are key elements for all aspects of sports training that must be incorporated into every run. Progressively shorter hours of daylight may mean a change in routine, and it may become necessary to switch from trail running to a well lit street or track if a busy schedule won’t accommodate a change in available running time.

Even the most thorough preparations for running in winter offer no reliable safety measures for running in snowy or icy conditions. Runners can maintain their running routine by moving their workout inside to the local gym or sports fitness center. The use of a treadmill or indoor track may be an undesirable option for regular training, but when weather conditions make running outside impossible it can prove to be fun while keeping you on schedule. Running indoors provides safe and predictable surroundings without having to be alert to the sounds of oncoming traffic or people approaching, so bringing some headphones and music to listen to will make the time more enjoyable and also go by faster.

It’s important to be aware of maintaining proper hydration while running indoors. Indoor conditions vary considerably from outdoors and can easily catch you off guard. The air temperature outside generally remains steady during the average run and feeling either warmer or colder is directly related to the runners’ own body temperature. Indoor facilities can have fluctuating temperatures that can be triggered from too many people in the gym, thermostats that are set at too high a temperature or insufficient or malfunctioning ventilation systems. These conditions may cause runners to sweat more and awareness to maintaining proper hydration is essential.

Indoor running during the winter can provide an easy solution for maintaining a steady training schedule when the weather makes running outside impossible. The level and intensity of running on a treadmill is very close to the work out that comes from running outside. It has also been proven that running indoors over the winter can help to improve running performance in the spring. Studies have shown that including a “steep hill” walk workout into your regular routine will provide essentially the same benefit as running but with minimal impact. The biomechanics of walking for twenty to forty minutes on a treadmill at a 12 – 15% incline and running are practically identical and provides muscles and joints with necessary recovery time.

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