Winter Running Tips
by Patrick Rizzo on December 4, 2012
It's that wonderful time of year again, WINTER! Okay, so really I'm not that enthused with the winter at all. It means slick surfaces, dark runs (morning AND night), and cold temperatures accompanied by tight muscles.
Don't worry, this isn't a blog to complain about the weather. Winter weather is not a downer at all. It just means we have a season to show Mother Nature who is most resilient! As runners, we're known to be among the morning “crazies” that populate the trails and bike paths even in the worst of weather, looking for that one day of edge over our competition. I'm writing to share some of my tips and tricks for winter running.
Tip 1. Keep both feet rubber-side-down. *Full disclosure, I DID fall on my butt yesterday running hills! I know this is easier said than done, but it really is manageable in all weather conditions and on all surfaces. One thing that you will want to do to mitigate forward momentum is to shorten the stride (don't worry, you'll make up the difference with greater stride frequency). The longer your stride is on ice and slick road, the more you will deviate from being directly over your center of gravity. It welcomes being off balance and meeting your bum (or worse) with the ground.
Tip 2. Dress accordingly!
This may seem self-explanatory, but the technology in running clothes does sometimes surpass our learning curves in how we layer. Mizuno Breath-Thermo running crews are very versatile as are Exodus ¾ tights (man-pris as I call them: a play on the term capri-for-men). For workouts in the cold, don't be shy about arm sleeves. They're great to regulate core temperature while keeping the arms warm. The bottom line is that although these products DO look cool, you can't be too worried about looking “weird” to onlookers. Being warm and comfortable by far outweighs looking stylish when running.
Tip 3. Run for time and effort, not distance and pace.
Trust me, this is so much easier said than done but it's imperative when looking to successfully train through the colder months. Your body, and the air temperature, won't give you the same feedback in 10* and windy as it does at 85* and calm. Trying to ignore that fact won't change reality from taking its toll on your futile attempts. If you want the same effects as doing 20 x 400 at 5:00/mile pace, try instead 20 x 75 second pick-ups with equal rest. Your body gets the same benefits and you get to stay healthy.
I can share more tips later in the season as well. Feel free to tweet me ideas to @runPRizzo or like my facebook fan page and suggest more there (http://www.facebook.com/patrickrizzorunning). Until next time, stay healthy and NEVER SETTLE!