The weather has been all over the place here in Atlanta lately. One day it’s raining, the next it’s snowing, and before you know it, it’s sunny and warm again. It’s enough to make even the most die-hard runner frustrated.
For those of you a little less enthusiastic about exercise, bad weather can be a recipe for disaster. Not only does it offer the perfect excuse to slack off, but when it’s as unpredictable as it has been it can put a long term halt to your progress.
Apart from finding an indoor activity to keep you moving, here are some tips for those of you who’d prefer to brave the weather and run on.
Use Common Sense
First, make sure it’s safe for you to be out running. If surfaces are iced over or wind is blowing debris around, it’s best to stay indoors. You can check out some of my videos for some indoor exercises to get your heart rate up.
Wear The Proper Gear
Assuming it’s safe to run outside, make sure you have the proper gear. If it’s cold out, you’ll want to dress in layers. I typically wear a pullover sweatshirt with a jacket, a knit cap and some gloves. Don’t forget if you’re out in the early morning or in the evening, make sure you’re wearing reflective clothing and accessories so you don’t get hit by a car.
While you probably have the right clothes in your closet, it’s entirely possible you don’t have the right shoes. A great pair of shoes is by far the most important piece of gear you’ll need. When it comes to exercise, I highly recommend investing in the right tool for the job. If you’re running, buy some great running shoes. If you’re walking, get walking shoes. Also, keep in mind what kind of terrain you like to run on. Road running and trail running require two different types of shoes.
I know a lot of people shudder when they see the price of some really great running shoes, but keep in mind the old podiatrist adage: You can pay for them now, or pay for them later. Don’t skimp on your shoes if you want to make the most of your run and keep yourself injury-free.
Running in different types of weather can present a challenge apart from the elements. Extreme heat and humidity can affect your body temperature and lead to heat exhaustion, while cold weather can cause breathing problems for people with exercise induced asthma. Before you go all in and risk injury or worse, it’s best to learn how your body reacts to the weather and what level of exertion it can handle.
The best way to figure out what works best for you is to start by pacing yourself. Try alternating between walking and jogging. This is beneficial for advanced runners as well as beginners. By adding in some rest between exertions you can help prevent injury and muscle fatigue.
Once you know your limits, you can start to push them. Just don’t push so hard you wreck your body and your motivation.
No More Excuses
Fitness is a lifelong pursuit, not a once-and-done prospect. Legitimate or not, excuses can wreck your exercise habit. Give in once and you’re more likely to give in again. Don’t let your exercise schedule become as unpredictable as the weather. Instead of making excuses, make a plan. Gear up and get out.