Last week our area was hit with some pretty exciting winter weather. Snow, ice, cold, heavy rain, power outages, wind storms, falling trees… Schools were closed as were many businesses. The snow, although it slowed me down, did not keep me from running outdoors. It was when the icy cold rain hit and everything turned to an ice skating rink that I knew I needed to come up with a plan to get my miles in on a tread mill. I had planned for it to be a high mileage week and as tempting as it was to curl up with a bowl of oatmeal and forget about the miles, I decided to stick to my guns and keep with the raw challenge and miles! I knew I’d be gloomy if I didn’t. We made the trek to my aunt and uncles and camped out there until I completed my miles for the week on their treadmill (I did 20 miles on the treadmill on Saturday–a new treadmill record for me).
The ice is melting and I was able to do an easy run outside today, but I was super cautious as there are lots of icy patches still. Running through the winter can be hard. Here are some ways I keep it real out there in the cold:
1. Layer it up. Wearing the right amount of layers consisting of the right materials is important when it comes to cold weather running. Cotton just ain’t gonna do. Once cotton gets wet, you’re going to turn into a snowman. Start with a good pair of socks. I love Smart Wool socks. Then comes a nice thick pair of running tights. They even make micro-fleece lined ones! I don’t have any this fancy but I do have a pair of Body Amour compression tights that are nice and thick and usually do the trick. If its really cold and wet, a pair of water proof pants over your tights will also help. Then comes the core. I start with a quick dry sports bra to keep my girls supported and warm. Then I move on to a base layer. This is a thin long sleeved top that draws the moisture away from your skin. Next comes either a micro fleece or another, slightly thicker quick dry top (and then a fleece). If its raining, you’re also going to want some type of waterproof jacket to top it all off. Don’t forget some snug fitting gloves made out of quick dry material. On to the neck, I wear a fleece neck warmer to keep the chill from sneaking in and then lastly I pull a smart wool headband over my ears. Still not warm enough? In Seoul, it was frrreeeaazzzzzing and I wore two pairs of running tights and two pairs of gloves and pulled my neck warmer over my face. All that showed were my eyes.
2. Keep your feet dry and warm. Thank heavens for Gore Tex shoes! My biggest challenge when it comes to the cold is keeping my hands and feet happy. In this snowy, wet weather, I’ve been wearing my waterproof Solomon trail running shoes. They keep my feet warm and dry while at the same time providing me with an extra bit of traction. Also helpful for the hands are those little hand warmer bags. They aren’t the most environmentally friendly product out there but in a pinch, they’ll do.
3. Warm up inside. I know its hard to get motivated to go outside when its freakin’ cold. Do some jumping jacks, get on a stationary bike, treadmill (although if you have one of these bad boys you might just want to do your workout on it…), do pushups, crunches, anything you can to warm up your core temperature. Going out in the frigid weather won’t be as bad if you aren’t already shivering.
4. Go slow. Snow and ice will slow you down. On Wednesday, my mile pace was about 1 minute slower than usual. I was plowing through about 8 inches of snow! Going down hills on ice can be pretty scary. I don’t want to risk breaking myself and not being able to run, so if its really icy and the hill is steep, I just walk it down!
5. Be extra cautious of cars. They’re struggling in the weather too. Don’t assume that car is going to stop before the cross walk! Wait until the car is completely stopped before running in front. Common sense, right? Cars sometimes slide on ice. We’re fortunate to have a park with a mile loop just across the street. It can get a tad boring running in circles for an hour but it beats skipping a run or getting plowed down by a car.
6. Work out indoors. Sometimes it’s just not safe to run outside. When I realized I couldn’t walk the 5 feet from our front door to the car without slipping, I knew a run wasn’t going to happen. If you have access to a treadmill, crank up some tunes and get your endorphins flowin’ that way. I have my bike on trainer so it is next in line if I can’t get on a treadmill. If none of those are an option, have a dance party! Do some yoga, a core workout, or do a mega clean of your house–anything to get some exercise for the day! You’re body and mind will thank you for it!