Running in the winter

12 01 2009

I just came across this old picture, which was taken in June 2006 just before my first Try-a-Tri (yes, 375m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run). As you can see we knew exactly what we were doing! We were basically pros warming-up for a “long” course! You have no idea how nervous I was.

Pros stretching!

Warning: Pros stretching!

Well, we came a long way! It is still time to start training for 2009, the year has just begun.

The winter can be challenging to train, not only to find motivation, but also a good place to train. Running in the winter is not easy, but once you’re used to it, it is actually not bad. I just ran 15 km on Sunday… yes, there was some snow on the ground!

Here are a couple thoughts:

  • I don’t want to run on snow! Well, most people don’t want to run on the snow because they think they will fall. However, it is easier to fall when you are walking than running on snow. It is like running on sand, just a bit colder! It is slower, hard work, but not that slippery as one would think. Personally, I try to run on the actual road or on a sidewalk that has been cleaned. The city cleans most of the sidewalks on the major streets here, so you might want to run there. Just watch out for black ice.
  • The cold will freeze my lungs! Trust me, if that was the case, a lot of skiers would have died! Running in the winter is not any different than any other winter sport, such as skiing or skating. Your body will handle it, just take the same precautions you would doing any other winter sport. 
  • What to dress? I like wearing a long sleeve Under Armour shirt with a fleece jacket on top. If is is windy, I’ll add a shell (like a Gortex jacket) on top of it. As far as pants go, I’ll wear a tri-short under a long pants, to avoid any friction and keep the little guys warm! Gloves and hat are also indispensable, although I only wear a really thin pair of gloves that I got at running room. I usually have cold hands for the first 10 minutes, but as the heart rate goes up, they warm up again. Oh, don’t forget to use sunblock on you face and wear sunglasses, since the snow is pretty bright!
  • Nope, not for me! OK, if you still not convinced, go to the gym and use the treadmill, maybe you can see a nice view too! 😉

Just get out there and try it out. It is not as bad as you think!

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5 responses

13 01 2009
Hans Winter

Funny, I had a bit of pain in my ankles… I never had that before either, but you’re right, it is a great workout!
BTW, I was talking to Rogerio, tomorrow I have planned a brick, and it will be -13C with light snow! At least it is just a 20 min run, but still, my transition will take a bit longer than usual! 🙂
Could be worse, it will be -20C earlier tomorrow (when I’m walking my dog).

13 01 2009
Bruno

I know exactly what you mean. Had my morning run – 45 minutes at 5:45am (in the dark) and under snow. Yes, the feeling is just like running in the soft sand in a beach (of course the feeling is not as pleasant, nor the view – especially in Brazilian beaches).

One note, though: just as running in the sand, you are exercising more muscles than the ones you exercise when running in a paved surface – your legs are often re-adjusting your position for balancing, and some tiny muscles (you don’t even consider their existance) are working hard to keep you straight. Today, for example, I felt some pain BEHIND MY KNEE (the strangest thing). I think overall it’s a good workout – and it’s important to exercise these muscles, but I would pay a lot of attention and try to notice if you’re not over exercising it.

I agree with Hans – it’s fun!

13 01 2009
Rogerio

I’ll go with last option, my friend Hans: “treadmill” in the winter season.
Although I do believe that is possible to run in such low temperature, I prefer to train in a warm environment (in this case, gymn), even because our triathlons and races will take place during the summer. So I can get my body used with such temperature conditions (we know that our body reacts in different way for different conditions, starting from heart rate) . But I agree, run outdoor is quite interesting and even more challenge.
The most important: KEEP TRAINNING, doesn’t matter where (in or outdoor)

12 01 2009
Marcos

Ok, after 3 or 4 weeks of lazy runs (well, so many parties and food and friends and everything…) I decided to go back to the streets last saturday. And crazy enough I always start my training section between 5 and 5:30 AM. Yes, AM. Except on weekends (because I miss so much the sun light despite it being so bad for my eyes) when I start around 7 or 8 AM… Raining, or shining or snowing I am there 5, 6 or 7 times per week. And yes, it is nice and the cold is not that cold when you are running. And unless it is below, say, -13 degrees (when the wind chill is often close to minus 20) I will be there and very few times it gets that cold. But I usually dont run on roads, always on the sidewalk, afraid of cars (even though there is none at this time in the morning).

So never stop running…

12 01 2009
Beatriz

Yeah, if you are looking for an excuse to hibernate your running program, winter is not one! There is plenty of advice everywhere on the web on how to keep that running program alive! Just google it!
My personal experience taught me to be visible: I train in the evening and run on the road avoiding icy sidewalks. Make sure drivers would be able to see you using something reflective. Also, although I skip sunblocks at 10pm, I still use a heavier cream/moisturiser to help with the cold and wind.
Take care of yourself and enjoy the outdoors!

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