So the dreaded freezing temps have finally made it to central Kentucky. We have our resolutions or race plans to deal with so bundling up for the next 3 months and hiding under the covers isn’t an option. Yeah, it’s cold and yeah it is going to be hard to get out and go, but in the end if you want to improve yourself you have to make yourself push through the hard stuff. I think 10 degree weather would be considered the hard stuff.
There are some things you can do to make it a little less painful and I’m not talking about moving south for the winter. Although that would work too.
The most important thing to do is to let your body adjust to the temp. Stretching inside and get everything ready and then sprinting out the door praying that you don’t feel the cold gives your body a shock that you may end up regretting. Even though it’s uncomfortable walk outside and do a little bit of stretching and let your body ease into things. As your muscles get warmed up so will your body.
Speaking of your body warming up don’t over do it on the layers. You certainly want to layer up, but keep in mind that you will eventually start to warm your muscles. Doing this will cause you to likely want to start shedding that jacket that held in so much warmth at the beginning. Unfortunately it still is and now you are sweating while your nose is numb from the cold. That isn’t a great situation. Let yourself be a little colder than you would want in the beginning so that you won’t need to drop clothes on the side of the road.
When you let the running get your body warmed up you will have extra motivation to not slow down. Run-walk-run is a great way to reach your goals and push yourself to improve times or distance, but running in the cold gives you extra motivation to walk less. When you do slow down you are going to start feeling the temp a whole lot quicker. So use the cold as an opportunity to run farther or faster. Not only does it keep you from getting cold, but running faster also lets you get done faster so you can get inside to that hot cocoa or hot shower a little sooner. If it is a hot shower it’s important to remember that your body temp is likely a little lower and the shower temp needs to start out a little lower too. Unless you love the feeling of a thousand needles going into your body.
You can also get a little motivation by thinking about how miserably it can be to run in central Kentucky in July and August. 105 degree heat index with what feels like 100% humidity and the sun beating down on you. That is miserable, that you can’t fix or avoid. You can add some extra layers and gloves in the winter, but in the summer you can only shed so much.
If you aren’t prepared with the correct gear for winter running there is no need to spend a fortune to get some good winter running clothes. I was at TJ Maxx in the Richmond Centre this weekend and they have lots of running pants clearanced down to $15 to $20. I picked up some Asics and Saucony running pants myself. I can do 25 to 30 degrees in my shorts, but I think now it’s time to put some pants on.