Monday, December 24, 2012

Winter Running Tips

Running in some not-really-all-that-cold temperatures about a week ago, I had a non-runner ask me what I do for exercise during the winter. Realizing they thought that I simply quit running when it is cold, I told them I simply add a layer. Or some tights. However, I realized that it is not just non-runners who are curious about what to do when the temps drop. Even runners need to know what to do when the snowpocalypse of the century is threatening and the motivation gets low to run.

For all of you in California or Florida who occasionally have to deal with some inclement rainy weather and think this qualifies you for being allowed to complain about the winter- it doesn’t. Wait two days and it will be 65 and sunny again. However, for the rest of you, here are few tips to get through the months with the emphasis on the BRRRR at the end.

1.     Motivation is the key: Whether you are running with a partner or have the Boston Marathon just a few months away, having an actual tangible reason to run will help you get out the door. If Steve or Stephanie is out there in the cold waiting for you, there is no way you will leave them to run solo. And if that big dream goal race is just around the corner, you will realize that even a quick run puts you that much closer to setting a new PR.

2. Be safe: Because you are running with someone, do not assume that those driving and concerned about the slippery and icy conditions are any more likely to see you. Reflective gear, headlamps and flashing lights should be a staple of your wardrobe. And just in case, make sure you are wearing some identification like ROAD ID.

3. Treat your tootsies: Obviously you have to dress your body properly for cold weather but do not forget to pay special attention to your feet as well. Wicking and warm socks to keep your feet dry are important. However, you also need to keep care of the shoes themselves (unless you are blessed with dozens of pairs of running shoes). A product called Stuffitts will absorb wetness better than the old newspaper trick and also help eliminate that shoe odor making your shoes last longer.

4. Mix Up Your Racing: When the flakes hit the ground, this is the time to maybe take a small break from all your running and throw in some snowshoe running, cross country skiing or something involving the white fluffy stuff. Sign up for a winter triathlon, like the X-Trifecta.  Or take on a snowshoe race. You can guarantee an instant personal best for a race distance you have never done.  Plus, with nothing to compare your times to, no feelings of running "slow in the snow" will beat you down.

5. Traction is important: You also have to make sure you have proper footing in the icy conditions. Easy to install (and remove) without any damage to your shoes products like ICESPIKE will keep you from slipping and sliding. I recommend ICESPIKE as they can even be worn when you cross over to bare sidewalks, if you are lucky enough to find any.

6. Slow down: Unless you have clear roads and good footing, do not worry about how fast you are running. With uneven footing, more clothing on than usual, and more impediments abound, this is not the time to be setting PRs. This is the time to continue working on your base and simply keep the body moving.

All in all, the running doesn’t have to stop just because running water has. Bundle up and spring will be here soon!

1 comment:

Alex Trodder said...

I really need to do better about keeping ID on me when I go running....I usually leave it at home.