Dress For Success: How to Winter Train for a Marathon in Spring

train for a marathon

Runners take your marks… Those few words can instantly spark excitement, especially if you have an upcoming spring race scheduled on your calendar! Learning how to train for a marathon is a favorite escape for many of us.

We challenge our bodies. We challenge our minds. We challenge our levels of endurance. We, also, get some me time to just zone out and focus on ourselves.

However, for many of us – training in the winter is a reality that can seem more annoying than worthwhile. Cold temperatures, slippery ice, and chilling winds can make for an ugly long run.  

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you train for a marathon in spring when you are in the middle of winter.

The Warm-Up: Best Ways to Train for a Marathon in Spring

Our long run days take almost as much preparation as planning a day trip. We map our route. We charge our phones. We check our water and GU pack supply.

We’re ready to run.

However, a bit of thought has to be put into what we wear.

Will my shorts or pants chafe? Am I wearing enough clothes? Am I prepared for the weather?

When training in cold weather for an event that will be in warm weather, here are a few things to remember.


This is a no-brainer when it comes to running in cold weather.

Of course, we have to wear enough clothing to survive the elements. But, we also can use our layers to help us prepare for our Spring run.

Instead of shedding the layers throughout the run, use the added clothing to mimic your body’s reaction to warmer temperatures. Since a spring marathon will offer us balmy weather and potentially high humidity, extra layers can help us get used to that feeling.

Train in the Heat

Strength and cross-training are important in any sport, especially running.

Plyometrics and HIIT workouts can be incredibly useful when training for an upcoming race. A simple strategy is to simply turn up the heat on your thermostat. Jump squats, planks, and burpees done with some added heat can help with getting your body ready to sweat in the heat.

Add some layers, too, if you’re planning to run a race somewhere near the equator.

Tread On

The treadmill. Any distance runner’s nemesis.

The best part about long run days is experiencing the great outdoors. Even though the treadmill is more of a last resort for us outdoor running aficionados, the treadmill can be a great way to prepare for a warmer race.

Just remember to turn up the heat on that thermostat, again!

Go to Camp

Want to make your training schedule memorable?

Sign up for a training or adventure camp in a place where snow doesn’t exist. A quick weekend detour to a warmer climate can be a great training tool and a great weekend trip. 

Plus, you’ll get to experience and train in temperatures that will mimic race day conditions. Grab some running buddies and make it a weekend. Maybe even buy yourself a memento to remember the fun

Train for Heat in the Cold

Figuring out how to train for a marathon in the winter is tough.

The cold weather can hurt our breathing. Ice can create hazards. Rogue weather can cancel our runs for days.

However, Mother Nature doesn’t have to stop our training schedule. We can use the chill of the winter to help us prepare for the race in spring. We just need to think warm, happy thoughts.

Even though it’s cold outside, stock up on some tank tops to help you mentally prepare for your warm-weather race.