This winter, leave the hibernation mode to the critters; they are better equipped to handle it. Unlike people, animals dont eat during the down months. We seem to replace activity with food and by spring it can get ugly. It often starts when the holidays come to distract us from our usual running program, 20 lbs. later its spring and time to waddle back into the run mode. I believe it is lack of knowledge that puts people into a hold pattern in winter. This can be avoided with the knowledge of how to run in, and dress for the cold, and the knowledge of how great winter running really is. Perhaps I can shed some light on these issues and help lead you down the snow-covered path to nirvana.
Why? Every day offers the unique opportunity to have a rave run/walk, from the awesome feeling of survival on a bone chilling day with a gale force wind to the still moonlit run on a fresh crunch of snow. And you could have blown it off to watch a sit-com! It all starts with that first step out the door. Its dark and cold; you are tired and brain dead.
This is the watershed moment. You must head out on autopilot, dont attempt to think rationally. Of course your body wants to crash on the couch. All visual and physical signs point to a stupid, miserable run taking way too much effort. Regardless, you must lace em up and push out the door and into the dark.
The icy wind hits your face and creeps into every opening in your clothes. It is not unlike jumping into a cold lake in a wetsuit. DO NOT turn around, hammer on. The first 4 minutes are pure hell but then slowly, the body starts to warm like the first rays of a morning sun. Soon, your thoughts will take a 180-degree turn with the magic of the day. You hit your stride and push it up a notch. The howl of the wind becomes the cheer of the crowd. The dark world becomes a magic kingdom where all is possible. You are awesome! You click through mile three as a bright moon breaks through the clouds. You cast a strange shadow that seems to run ahead of you. You run to catch it and it vanishes as a wall of darkness grabs you. The moon is gone; the adrenaline rush has you down to 7 minute pace. The sound of your footfalls, the creaking branches overhead and the voice of the wind electrify the run/walk. You cant recall ever feeling betteror faster. You are master of your environment; you are one with your body. The 4-miles turn into 6 and the end comes too soon. You decide to pass up the house and tack on some bonus miles. A block from home again you drop into a cool down walk and try to capture the moment and feelings from the run/walk. You wonder how you could have possibly considered blowing off this run/walk, just a short hour agoimpossible. Haul your butt out the door this winter, you wont be sorry.
How? Unlike a 90-degree summer day, you can dress for anything winter has to offer. No, you wont freeze your lungs. The human body adapts well to anything you throw at it. Inhaled air is warmed at an incredible rate. Yes, it will help if you wear all the modern technology. Staying dry is staying warm. No cotton! Cotton is a fuzzy hollow fiber that traps heat and gives that warm comfortable feeling we all love. That same cotton fiber absorbs moisture and turns heavy, cold and wet. In the summer it turns heavy, hot and wet. Save the cotton for post run/walk wear. Todays tech fabrics are all forms of polyester. Cool-Max, Thermax, Dri-Fit, Polar Tech Fleece and the many patented fibers work in a similar fashion. When moisture comes in contact with these multi sided strands of fiber it moves away from the heat source (your body) and wicks away. The fibers dont absorb moisture so it evaporates off the surface. You will need a base layer (Briefs, bra, tights top and socks, all made of polyester.) along with a micro-fiber jacket to break the wind. Top it off with a hat & gloves and your ready for 80% of all winter days. It will cost you around $250 give or take $50. You can rinse this stuff out and wear it daily because the drying is minimal. Go to a running shop and ask the staff (they are usually high mileage runners) what the brands and models of tights, tops and jackets they wear. They will steer you to the best stuff. Pull it on, zip it, lace em tight and your off on high adventure. Ill see you out there!
"If you're going through hell, you'd better keep going!" - Winston Churchill