Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Eep! Winter has arrived.  Snow.  Cold.  Ice.  Sigh.  This runner is most certainly dreaming of warmer days, running shorts and ice free sidewalks!

Photo from the Calgary Herald November 23rd
First, an admission.  I planned on running the reservoir Sunday afternoon, which usually takes me about an hour and a half.  Instead, I had a lovely 2 hour afternoon nap.  Yep, I sure did.  I'm like a bear in hibernation.  Eating.  Sleeping.  Eating some more.  If only there was some kind of award for marathon eating and sleeping.  I think I'd win...or at least have a very, very good chance.

So.  Winter running.  All kinds of fun.  Please be careful if you're out there on the sidewalks and paths because it is SLIPPERY.  And gear up- it's C-O-L-D.

And, read these tips, they just might save you're life...or at least your FITNESS!

Tip#1- Stabilize, stabilize, stabilize
When you run on ice or when you are running in the winter and your brain is worried about the potential of hitting ice, you change your stride.  Trust me, even if you don't think you do, you just do.  The muscles that help stabilize your bod when you're running are working much, much harder than a run on the dry pavement.  This can lead to soreness in different areas than normal- groin, abs, hip flexors, calves...not that this is bad, its just different and is something to be aware of.

Tip#2- Gear Up
Dress in layers, wear a toque and remember- cotton is your ENEMY!  You definitely want fabric that pulls the sweat away from your body but doesn't make you cold.  Most of the running companies make some pretty sweet winter running gear so it is possible to look sort of cool under all those layers. And don't forget your mitts or gloves; mini gloves work very well unless you're in Calgary where it's the second coldest place on the planet, in which case I highly recommend mitts.

When I run outdoors in the winter, I stick with the same shoes I wear at every other time of the year.  There are shoes that you can purchase that are more for the colder temps and snowy conditions, some people swear by them,  so it's definitely an option.  There are also warmer socks that are still quite thin, which are good to consider if its brutally cold.  And last but not least, you can purchase something called Yak traks which fit on your shoes to provide you with some more traction when its icy.

Tip #4- Relocate
California would be nice.  So would Australia.  Oh- and how about Mexico?  Yes, please!  But if moving to a lovely, humid, warm, tropical environment is not in your near future, you may want to consider moving the running indoors when the mercury dips to the lowest of the low.  Hate the treadmill?  You can always hit up an indoor track.  I had to relegate myself to the treadmill once this week and while I was not looking forward to it even a teeny bit, I felt fabulous afterwards.  Cabin fever had set in and I was like a rabid dog.  Rabid.  So I ran it out.  I pounded away on the treadmill and if felt fabulous.  FAB-U-LOUS.  So if its the only option, give it a just might surprise yourself and end up loving it.

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