12/1/08

Winter training…

"Racing entails risk. The most common mistake in addition to overtraining is racing too much too soon." TOM FLEMING
Unedited:
Fall has come and gone, the colorful leaves have fallen and the bitter winter has arrived. The sun will rise a little later, meaning those who run early in the morning will have a hard time waking up in the dark to go out for their daily runs. Those who run at night will face the colder temperatures and harsher weather conditions. Those who run in the afternoon, well these are the people who actually see daylight and don’t work the 9-5 work schedule that everyone else in New York City, so these are the lucky winners.

The morning runners face the tough decision of getting out of bed so early. The trick is to jump straight out of bed in one full swoop (like ripping off a band aide) and walking around to get your blood circulating. Once you have done that, you just need to get out the door. I, unfortunately, fall under the other category, where the winter comforter and warm bed tends to overcome the beeping of my alarm. I snooze my alarm countless amounts of times, to give myself more time to sleep. This means that I reside to run after my long day of work, which is a bit tougher to get motivated and usually gets in the ways of different plans for the night. When you return to your warm apartment, change immediately into your running clothing, DO NOT REST ON YOUR COUCH OR TURN ON YOUR TV. The best way is to get out the door as quickly as possible and never look back.

The cold brisk air may deter you a little bit, due to your warm apartment. Once you barge out of the front door to face the wintery weather, you will feel so good since you are out for a run. May it be the icicles that form on your chin or frostbite nipping on your ears, winter running brings a different nature to running. Some people may reside into running on tread mills at the gym, to escape this cold weather phenomenon, but rest assured you’re still keeping in shape and running. Those who run outside will fend off the cold brisk air which may seem cleaner, crisper and to some, seem even easier to breath.

Bringing out your winter gear may also bring some joy into the winter season. Bundling up in layers or posing as a ski bunny may bring some fond memories of running in the snow, as you leave tracks behind every step you take. Dress up in layers, such as a hat, gloves and other appropriate running gear, will keep your body warm and protect your body from the extreme conditions. Winter running may be dangerous like black ice on the sidewalks and streets to even vehicles losing control and skid (be very careful of your surroundings). When running, be cautious and wear reflective gear such as a reflective vest or ID tag or simply blinkers.

Weather conditions such as below freezing temperatures and freezing rain may bring you to decide if running today is really worth it. Be smart and listen to your body and listen to yourself before you go out for a run.
When racing, be smart. If the weather is too bitter for you to handle go out slowly, let your body warm up to the cold conditions and be sure to take a jog before. Loosen your muscles and stretch, your muscles tend to tighten in the colder temperatures or start cramping up after your body decreases in temperature. Be sure to bring additional warm clothes with you for after the race. After you are done racing, go home quickly or strip down to get all of the wet clothes off. You will feel fine at first, although your body temperature will soon drop exponentially. Wet clothes capture the cold and your body will not recover concluding to a cold, the flu or even hypothermia. On long runs, wear appropriate clothing for long durations of time outside. Wear layers and have a plan to only go out for duration of time that should not be exceeded.

Just think after a cold run, there is always a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate to speed up your runs. A nice hot bowl of soup or a warm shower can also be on your mind after a frigid winter weather run. As the winter weather comes, it will soon blow over and spring will arrive before we know it. Enjoy the winter wonderland! Happy Holidays!

Edited:
Fall has come and gone, the colorful leaves are in piles, and the bitter winter has arrived. The sun will continue to rise later and later until the winter solstice, meaning those who run in the mornings will have a harder time waking up in the dark to go out for their daily runs. Those who run at night also face the shorter days, colder temperatures, and harsher weather conditions. And those who run in the afternoon? Well, these are the luckier ones who can hopefully take advantage of the warmest highs and enjoy the sunny days when they bless us.

One trick for morning runners is to jump straight out of bed in one fell swoop (just like ripping off a Band Aid) and walk around to get your blood circulating. Once you have done that, you just need to get out the door. I, unfortunately, don’t always heed my own advice—the winter comforter and warm bed overpower the beeping of my alarm. I’ll hit snooze countless times, giving myself more time to sleep… until it’s time to rise and go to work.

Which means that I resign to running after my long workday is over, an equally tough time to motivate, and one that interferes with the best-laid after-work plans. If you have the luxury of going home before your post-work run, when you return to your warm apartment, change immediately into your running clothing and DO NOT REST ON YOUR COUCH OR TURN ON YOUR TV. The best (only) way is to get out the door as quickly as possible and never look back.

Because once you barge through the front door, face the darkness, and adjust to the brisk temps outside, you will remember that winter running isn’t really so bad. And you will feel pride that you made it out for a run despite all signs pointing to “no”.

If that’s not enough, unpacking your winter gear may bring some joy to the winter season. Bundling up in layers—trusty jackets, favorite hats, lucky gloves—may bring back fond memories of running in the snow, leaving your tracks behind you with every step. Of course, winter running can be dangerous, too. Beware of black ice and pay extra attention to vehicles that are struggling to stay in control. In fact, reminiscing over your favorite reflective gear, ID tag, and blinkers can go a long way toward keeping you safe.

NYRR races span the winter months, providing additional incentive to stay in shape and get those weekday runs in. Of course, when you do make it to the starting line, be smart. If the weather is brutal, try a slow jog beforehand, stretch to loosen your muscles, go out slowly, and let your body really warm up to the cold conditions before you decide to push too hard. Muscles can tighten in the colder air and cramp after your body decreases in temperature, so bring extra, warm clothes to put on after a race. Even if you feel fine at first, your body temperature will drop quickly after exercise is completed. Wet clothes capture the cold and prevent your body from recovering after a hard effort, weakening your immune system and inviting sickness. So wear layers that prevent you from getting too cold—or too hot!—on all your runs, and plan your routes carefully so you don’t end up stranded in the cold or on the road for any longer than you had planned.

Just think: after a cold run, you can always recuperate with a mug of hot chocolate or a nice, steaming cup of coffee or tea. Envisioning that piping hot bowl of soup and a warm shower can also help to speed up your runs.
However, if icicles forming on your eyebrows and frostbite nipping at your ears, fingers, and toes are still too much to face, you have two more options: You can head to the treadmill at the gym (and try to amortize that gym membership that rarely gets used…) or you can decide that running one day is just not worth the risk.
And that’s okay. Because you have to be smart and listen to reason before going on a run.

Before we know it, winter will blow over and spring will arrive anyhow. So enjoy the winter wonderland while you can! And Happy Holidays!

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