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Offseason Training for Runner

Running in the winter is less than comfortable. Even the most hardcore runners must admit that freezing fingertips and cold ears are enough to make you question your desire to run.

Sure, you can go to a gym and run on the treadmill, but that’s not nearly as satisfying or calming as running outdoors. Winter certainly presents a dilemma for runners and anyone who does an outdoor sport.

It also presents an opportunity to shift your focus. When the weather is gorgeous, you want to take advantage of it and run or play sports outdoors as much as possible. During that time it’s easy to neglect the things you should be paying attention to.

Stretching, for example, can take a back seat when you just want to burst out of your door and start running. Weight training is also often ignored, and winter gives you a perfect excuse to focus more on strengthening your body.

Cross training is important and runners are increasingly making time to lift weights. The results speak for themselves. You can run faster and for longer by strengthening your legs. Plus, weight training makes you more resistant to injuries.

For each day that you’re not going outside to run or play sports in the winter, try going to the gym instead. By the time the weather warms up you should’ve built some strength and muscle that can carry you through the warmer months.

Runners should focus on basic strength training movements like deadlifts, squats, lunges, push-ups and chin-ups. While it’s important to strengthen your legs, it wouldn’t hurt to build your chest and back muscles. They can help you more forcefully swing your arms, propelling you forwards in your run.

Another area that runners shouldn’t neglect is core training. Your abs help you maintain posture as you run, which is important for your technique and breathing. Winter is also a good time to rehab any injuries and make body parts stronger that you’ve been neglecting. For example, strengthening your hip muscles to make sure your hips stay strong and injury-resistant.

Runners don’t need to hit the gym every day, but two to three workouts is ideal during the winter. As you get back into running you can dial that back to one to two weight training workouts per week, which is enough to maintain the progress you made during your offseason.

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