Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Winter Running

It's the time of year where there are an abundance of articles about winter running gear, tips for running in the winter, and couch to 5 k programs for those people that made running a resolution.  The other day as a was running on New Year's Eve and I think it was -30 something with the windchill and I was doing my long run mostly solo because I couldn't recruit anyone other than my loving boyfriend to share some cold miles with me. It was so cold my phone froze, so I was running solo silent miles and  I started pondering what could I share about winter running/training?  The following are a few random tips/thoughts that popped in my head.

  1. There is no inappropriate weather. Just inappropriate clothing choices. So layer, layer, and layer. Once it gets to -20 and beyond I like two layers on bottom and three on top and some kind of balaclava for my face. A good pair of wool socks and a warm pair of mitts, my hands and feet were fine. 
  2. Just get outside. I have never been officially diagnosed with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), but my mood is definitely lower in the winter. It is easy to get into hibernation mode. Getting outside in the fresh air and being out in the sun (when it's there) helps so much with my energy.
  3. Find some friends! It's easier to get through tough cold days, when you're laughing and suffering together with some friends. Probably is also a good safety feature when you're venturing out on trails for hours on end.  Two winters ago I had one of my toughest trail "runs".  Really it was a giant ridiculous slog.  It was supposed to be a 30 something km run end to end on a section of the Bruce Trail. It turned out to be post holing slog fest and took us almost 8 hours to complete. It was cold, hard and I ran out of snacks (not a good combination). What saved me was sharing this experience with friends. My friend Lori was laughing the whole time and embracing the adventure. So was my friend Agnes and she also had brought way more snacks than me and generously shared some cold grilled cheese with me, when I was ready to have a complete hangry meltdown. Later that year when I was competing in a 100 miler, I would recall that day and remember that I can do hard things. 
  4. Sometimes it makes you feel like a bad ass.  At least in my head anyways. Sometimes I think, 'wow I must look really tough' running out when its -30. Then I think what I must really look like, with all my layers on that don't match, some kind of ridiculous hat, my frozen face, and snot pouring out of my nose. It's not really the image of women winter running that I see advertised or on some trail runners Instagram account. But getting through workouts in the winter, usually toughens me up for spring training and racing. 
  5. It can be really freaking pretty! Some winter runs when the snow is fresh, and it's cold so you hear every crunching footstep, and all the trees are snow covered, and you are alone in the forest, it can feel pretty magical.  It is a way better experience than a treadmill.

Those are just a few of my thoughts about Winter Running. What tips/tricks help you get your training done in the winter?

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