Day 853: Cold Weather Running

Day 853, December 18, Tuesday. My training plan prescribed a long, 20K run. I take running seriously which means that the minus degrees do not stop me. I run all winter long. Sometimes, I do go indoors but only if it is really impossible to run outside or there is an organised group training indoors. In January and February, I spent quite a few Thursdays at the indoor arena, doing running drills (high knees, etc.) and jumping over hurdles. I don’t really do the treadmill, that’s too boring. If I go inside, it’s for the indoor arena (200-metre lap) and for a speed workout. Long runs, easy recovery runs, aerobic threshold runs for 15K or so – these all stay outdoors. It’s not that awful. OK, it is but you get used to it!

A few tricks for cold weather running

Like I said, it’s not that bad if you prepare. Follow some of these simple tricks to master winter running!

  • Dress in layers. Do not overdress but make sure you have a warm base layer, maybe a long-sleeved workout shirt, a T-shirt in between (if necessary), and a windproof outer layer to keep the warmth in. Currently, I have been wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a waterproof Mountain Warehouse jacket at the top and long leggings + shorts on top at the bottom (my leggings are really thin, if they were thicker, i.e. special winter ones, I’d probably be fine with one layer). You could try thermal underwear.
  • Wear gloves and a hat. It is best to cover your ears. I used to be known for the crazy one who ran with her cap and had her ears uncovered (accidentally, I only took that cap on my long run and was once again the girl with uncovered ears) but it is best to keep your ears warm. If it’s only -5 degrees, it might be fine but at colder temperatures, you shall feel the difference.
  • Remember that it might feel a bit chilly for the first 5-10 minutes of your run. You should warm up afterwards and feel fine. Just survive the first kilometres and you will feel warm. If you overdress and are warm from the beginning, you could overheat later and feel uncomfortable.
  • Choose running shoes that provide at least some traction. If the soles are slippery, you have hard time getting anywhere on the snow and, maybe, on the occasional ice.
  • Prepare yourself mentally that you will be slower than in summer, spring or autumn. It is cold and the surface could be slippery, slowing you down. This is normal. Don’t be too worried about your performance. Once the snow melts (or you go to a training camp in Spain), you will be flying!
  • The runs don’t have to be super long. The most important thing is just to finish them. If you keep moving, you are far ahead of those people who sit indoors the entire winter and don’t do anything.
  • The easiest way to adapt yourself to winter running is simply not stopping in autumn. If you just continue going, you won’t even notice how cold it has got! It will become very normal for you.
  • In winter, you could also focus on core exercises and some alternative indoor workouts. Usually, this the off-season as the main races are in summer. This is the perfect time to strengthen your weak spots and maybe lose some weight as well.

Progress Report

1. Own and live in a house.

I finished my Christmas recipe book design and started the tedious publishing process. Turned out to be quite a task! But I wanted to get it done, get it published, and earn some money for the house! Talking about earning money… we drove to Tallinn to check out some possible office spaces. We found our new office! Moving in in January! I will have a big creative corner there with all my plans for future books pasted on the walls!

2. Write AND publish a book.

Going strong at the publishing front because I spent the majority of my evening designing that damn thing.

3. Win a major race.

A long and cold run (my second one in snow) around the apartment blocks of Lasnamäe. I drove to the indoor arena, parked outside, and went for a run while my husband was doing extensive speed workout indoors.

Photo of the Day

My new plaything. Takes me to better running places when the home trails happen to be frozen.

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