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Winter Running

November 15, 2011
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You can hear the winds blowing and the rain drops outside. It’s pitch black when your alarm goes off. Your pet is still deep asleep and the the bed is warm and cozy. The last thing you want to do is run outside, battling the cold stormy weather (unless you are a nut like me). Winter running is a completely different ballgame compared to the warmer months.

Attire:

First you need to switch to different training attire. While in the summer, my focus was to minimize clothing to the lowest publically-acceptable level and stick with cool fabrics, now it’s all about windshield and insulation without the bulk.

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Luckily I came across some good quality running gear at a reasonable price at Nordstrom. Nordstrom offers their own brand of workout wear called Zella. The interesting thing is that the designer of Zella used to be the designer for Lululemon, so the fabric, quality and fit of Zella items is very similar to that of Lululemon without the branded logos the size of Washington state on your chest. Another added bonus is that if you wait until the half-year sale, you can get 25-50% of pretty much any Zella item. I stocked up on the Live-in capris, Run around leggings (which they seem to be out of at the moment), and a couple of jackets. Next, you’ll need either a head band or a toque to keep your head and ears warm (you’d be surprised how cold your ears get when it’s 35 degrees outside). I love my Bondi-bands and wear them for every workout. I am planning on upgrading to a couple of ponytail hats for the winter. Gloves is another item on my list although I’ve been keeping warm with the Zella jackets’ thumbholes for now.

Light: Make sure whatever gear you get it has some light reflective stitching so drivers can easily spot you on the roads. My run around capris have zippers in the back that have light reflection as do my shoes and my headband. Another possibility is to get a headlight but I did not like the thing sitting on my head and the light shaking in front of me, plus I always run on fairly well lit streets so it was not much use. On weekends, I start my runs later so that the sun is out and the air is warmer. The end of Daylight Savings Time has helped a lot this past week as well.

Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is harder in winter months as you don’t get as thirsty and gulping gallons of cold water does not seem very appealing, but your body still needs lots of fluids so I try to drink more tea during the day and store my Vitamin Water in the pantry rather than the fridge (although I read somewhere it’s better to drink ice cold water as your body burns more calories to warm it up. This might be one of those weight loss myths.)

Supplies:

IMG_7457 Lastly you will need to pack some extra supplies that you might have gotten away without during the summer – Chapstick and Kleenex (or no-name-brand equivalent of these two products).
I don’t leave the house without my chapstick, period. I hate chapped lips; they hurt like hell and I can’t stop biting them which only makes matters worse. When you are outside on a cold day, you get a runny nose. Now multiply that by 10 when you are running. Yep, there will be lots of schnot running down your face (the faster you run, the faster it does as well). I am very impressed and grossed out by street noise blowers (the ones that can just close one nostril and shoot it out 3 inches to the side). I once saw a cute little blonde chick do it while running See Jane Run. I stick with Kleenex, which is far more lady-like.

 

At the end of it all, if the weather is really bad out, you might resort to a treadmill (I know, I hate it too.) If it’s pouring or freezing rain or inches of snow on the streets, go for a nice interval workout on the treadmill at the gym rather than pushing limits unnecessarily. Running is already pretty hardcore, you don’t need to prove you can do it in crazy weather. Run safe!

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