Baby it’s Cold Outside
Tis the season… Runners don’t stop running because it’s cold, but it can be daunting to wake up to dark and cold mornings to go for a run. I speak for myself when I say I know once I’m on the road or trail the idea of being cold and uncomfortable leaves me immediately. If you can relate to that, then why the hell is it so hard to get up and get moving come winter? I always say if it was easy there would be no gym memberships, personal trainers, or even fitness blogs. But it’s not easy, it’s never easy. Even when the sun is out and weather is warm. It’s still not easy. However, it’s very rewarding. Especially to continue your fitness regimen through the winter months. First we will talk about waking up and committing to the run, then we will talk about rules of the road, and lastly we will talk about the rewards come May.
Wake up call- Good morning, rise and shine. It’s game time. Waking up in the early hours of winter months is daunting. The cold doesn’t mess with my mind as much as the darkness. It’s the dark of night at 5:00am in the winter, and that makes me think I have an hour or so more rest. Not true, it’s already 5:00am and the window of opportunity is closing fast. I like to register for an early spring race. Then I am more likely to get out of bed. Getting up is only half the battle. Another blocker is wardrobe. Don’t take this lightly. In the Spring and summer all I really need is shorts and shoes, Not the case once we dip below 45 degrees. Layering slows you down, It’s a pain to put layer after layer on, when the coffee machine and bathrobe are so easy. I have beaten this demon with two methods. First make sure your base layer is easily accessible before you go to sleep. Second, I keep the bathrobe and slippers in the closet, using my base layer and running shoes as my means of warming up the early morning chills. The last step is not to be taken lightly. We have to walk outside. The front door can seem like a bank vault sometimes. I have a new strategy this year, and it works well. I map out a run the night before. A new run. One I’ve never ran. It works for me. Once out the door runners are faced with different obstacles we don’t face in the summer.
Run safely- Winter running can be dangerous. I’ve slipped on ice, broken through ice puddles, squared off with snow plows, and even once fell off a 20 foot cliff. Here are some suggestions to staying safe this year.
-Take it easy on the corners. When approaching a turn, slow down. Almost to a walk. Take the corner and speed back up.
-High knees, especially on the trails. Picking your knees up gives you a better angle to the ground for traction on potential icy surfaces.
-Not to be redundant, but slow down. Take it easy. You’re probably not going to set any course records in the winter, so why bother keeping time? I love winter running because I make it loose and easy going.
-Respect the road when it snows and be flexible when it comes to changing your route off the main Thoroughfare. There is often not safe places to stay clear of traffic in snowy weather. I am a trail runner, and mainly stay to the trails in the winter. If you’re not, that’s cool. Find a spot that is safe to run like public parks.
-Remember the rules of the road. a 170lbs. runner surrenders the right-of-way to a 3 ton snowplow providing a public service.
-Stay focused, eyes in front, and be mindful of your steps.
-Dress for success. Most winter weather can be combated with a tight base layer, thin fleece 2nd layer, and wind-proof jacket. I also wear wool cycling socks, winter hat, and thermal tights under running shorts.
-Mittens. So important I wanted to give them their own bullet point. Don’t shop around. Buy running mittens from Brooks. That’s all I’m going to say.
The rewards- Although it may be obvious, running though the winter will make for a better spring as you haven’t lost much traction in your training. There are other benefits, like peeling off the winter layers revealing a rock hard, beach-ready body in May. I also find that when it’s me against the elements and I beat the elements it’s another notch on my running esteem belt. Which is great to think about during your summer races. I will actually remind myself that 3 months ago I was cranking out miles in 20 degree weather. 60 and sunny? Eat my dust.
Run well my friends, be safe. Not sure where to begin? Call or e-mail me.