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John's Running Tips

Winter Running

With the start of 2009, take pleasure in the special joy of being the first to make fresh footsteps in the snow. Don’t pass up the excitement of a crisp sunny run through the early morning or the delight of an evening run through the darkness as large snowflakes float through the stillness of the evening. Building a snowman in the fresh snow can add a new cross-training regime to your winter workout, so loosen up and enjoy the winter. It’s a fact those cold winter days build character—the kind you can use in the late stages of a long run. If you are feeling rough, think back to the challenges you overcame during those long winter runs.

    Winter Running Tips
  • Adjust the intensity of your workout.
  • Up to 50% of body heat is lost through the head, so keep it covered.
  • Warm up properly, start your runs at a comfortable pace and slowly build up to a pace slower than your normal training pace.
  • Shorten your stride to improve your footing on icy roads. Wear Get a Grip Ice Joggers over the soles of your shoes for greater traction.
  • Carry a phone so you can make a call or carry cab fare in your shoe or pocket.
  • Wind chill does not measure temperature; it measures the rate of cooling. On a day with high wind chill, prepare for the wind.
  • Run into the wind for the first part of your run and with the wind on the return portion.
  • When running by yourself, run in a loop in case you need to cut the run short.
  • On your first few runs on snow or ice, you may experience slight muscle soreness in the legs, because your supporting muscles are working harder to control your slipping.
  • Cover all exposed skin with clothing or skin lotion. If you or your running partner have exposed skin, be aware of each other to prevent frostbite.
  • In the winter it’s dark, so wear reflective gear and run facing the traffic in order to be more visible.
  • Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Drink water on any run over 45 minutes.
  • Use a lip protector like Chap-stick and Body Glide on your lips, nose and ears.
  • Gentlemen, protect your future generation—wear a wind brief.
  • Our beauty tips for those dry hands: petroleum jelly on the hands helps keep them warm and makes a great moisturizer.
  • Do your speed work indoors on dry surfaces.
  • Be aware of hypothermia for both yourself and those running with you. Hypothermia is a drop in your core body temperature. Signs of hypothermia include incoherent, slurred speech, clumsy fingers and poor coordination. At the first sign, get to a warm, dry place and seek medical attention. You are more likely to experience difficulty on a wet and windy day.
  • Do not accelerate or decelerate quickly in the cold weather.
  • Make sure your changes in direction are gradual to avoid slipping or pulling muscles that are not properly warmed up.
  • Freezing your lungs is just not possible. The air is sufficiently warmed by the body prior to entering the lungs. If you find the cold air uncomfortable, wear a face mask; it will help warm the air.
  • Wear a single pair of thermax socks to stay warm. These look just like the coolmax socks but will keep you warm rather than cool.
  • Take your wet clothes off and get dry ones on as soon as possible.
  • Wear your water bottle under your jacket to keep it from freezing. Without the perceived sense of thirst you need to drink a sip every 10 minutes
  • Review runner safety. Safety is even more important in the winter with less light and far more ice and other obstacles on the running paths and roads.
  • Wear three layers: base layer, insulating layer and windproof shell. Some clothing is quite efficient, such as Fit-Wear, and if you have this then two layers will suffice.
  • Run small loops close to your home base. If you find it is getting unbearable, you will not be too far away from shelter.
  • Tell someone where you are going (route map) and give that person an idea of your approximate time of arrival.

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