Running is a fantastic exercise and it can be great for you, but it’s not something you can jump into without having built up to it. Sure, when we were kids, it was easy to just break into a run and tear down the street, across a field, or around the baseball diamond. However, once you reach adulthood, it’s not quite that easy.
If you want to enjoy the sport and avoid injury, you need to build up to the point that you will be able to run properly. That starts with walking. Since wintertime isn’t the ideal time of year to run, anyway – as snow and ice can make it dangerous – it remains a great time of the year to get outside and use your muscles, preparing yourself for warmer months.
To use the winter to train to start running once the warmer weather comes around, start your day with a good breakfast. Focus on nutrition, with a proper balance of protein, carbs and even fat. Don’t overdo it but provide your body with energy.
Next, make sure you have the right gear. You’ll need to wear boots that will support and cushion your foot, but that will do so while keeping your feet warm and providing traction on slippery and icy surfaces. You’ll also want the right jacket, hat and mittens to keep the rest of you warm. Try to focus on options that will allow you to stay very warm at the start of your walk, but to keep yourself cool once you get going. Even in very frigid temperatures, you can sweat very heavily when you go for a brisk walk on snow for a half hour. Sweat can be a problem because it can freeze.
Try to get outside at least five days per week. Walk as briskly as you can, at intervals with a slightly slower and relaxed pace. A half hour should be your initial goal. As your route starts to become easier because you are building your fitness level, add more speed and distance when possible. Your goal is to try to walk quite briskly for at least a half hour without losing your breath by the end of it. To test yourself, try to speak at the end of the walk and see how easily you are able to talk.
Over the weeks, it will become easier and your fitness will improve to the point where you will be able to start running at intervals with walking once the spring comes around and the sidewalks are clear again.