Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cold Weather Workout Tips

How Cold is Too Cold to Workout Outside?

Thermometer - 32 Degrees

(Updated December 2023) When Old Man Winter arrives the days get shorter and the temperatures plunge. Early morning or evening outdoor workouts are during the coldest parts of the day. 


Good News

You don't have to give up those outside sweat sessions due to the bone-chilling temperatures. Susan Paul, exercise physiologist says it’s generally safe to work out outdoors until the thermometer hits a freezing 20 degrees below zero. However, you need to be properly outfitted. Also if you are a beginner don't start training for your first 10K during the dead cold of winter.

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Cold Weather Workout Rules 

If you follow these simple cold weather workout rules you will minimize injuries and boost your performance.

Cold Weather Layers

Wear layers of moisture-wicking (dry-fit) fabrics that will keep you warm and dry.

I also add a jacket that is easily removable. When I first start out running I'm pretty cold, but once I get to full intensity my body warms up pretty quickly. Then I shed the outer jacket and tie it around my waist.

Cold Weather Workout Gear


Cover your mouth  wear a face mask or scarf wrapped around your nose and mouth - this will help heat and moisturize the air before it hits your lungs.


Protect your extremities with gloves, mittens, wool socks, headband and a snug-fitting hat.


Socks This is probably the hardest one for me.  My feet get cold very easily, so I like to wear layers of thick socks.  This is hard to do when you go running because there is only so much room in your running shoe.  So, I choose a dry-fit thin hiking sock for my first layer.  For my second layer, Nike makes a dry fit running sock that keeps my foot pretty warm.

  
Gloves You have many choices in gloves. I usually wear a thinner glove when it's not as cold - like the gloves on the right. But when the temperature dips lower, and the wind picks up, I reach for a thicker pair - like the ones pictured below.  Also the gloves below have the touch fingers which allow me to use my iPhone while running, a definite plus. 


Take it Easy It's better to run long and easy when the temperatures are frigid then a speed workout. This is not the time break your distance record or beat your best time.


Warm Up Since it will take more time in the cold weather, allow your body to warm up thoroughly to avoid the risk of injury. 


Remember winter running is about maintaining miles not the speed. If you are running longer distances you can break your runs up to avoid being in the cold too long. After your run make sure you avoid the post-run chills by getting out of your sweaty clothes and drink something warm.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bucket List: My First 10K Accomplished



A Triumph and a Disappointment


My First 10K

(updated December 2023) I did it (said with mixed emotions). I accomplished my goal of running my very first 10K race. Not only did I finish the race, but I managed to shave 3 minutes off my previous time. It was a moment of triumph, but it came with a bitter aftertaste. My body had its own plans for the day.

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A Battle with My Body: The Pre-Race Struggle

A few days before the race, I experienced what I thought was a simple leg cramp. Little did I know that it would evolve into something much more challenging. I spent the day before the race diligently tending to my leg, with a heating pad and stretching, hoping it was just a minor issue.


A Nervous Morning

Running a 10K with Sciatic Nerve Pain 

The morning of the race I was filled with anxiety. I couldn't shake the fear that my leg would betray me once again, and unfortunately, it did just that. For the first 3 miles, my feet and toes remained numb, possibly due to the chilly weather. However, the ordeal was far from over; throughout the race, my right leg, hip, and glutes were in excruciating pain.


Perseverance Amidst Pain

I wasn't going to let my body hold me back from achieving my goal. After all, I often tell my kids to persevere and push through life's challenges, so I followed my own advice. The pain was there, but so was my determination.


The Lingering Pain

My leg continued to ache even after the race. An internet diagnosis suggests sciatic nerve pain, but the root cause remains uncertain. My best guess is that I pushed my aging body beyond its limits with exercises it couldn't handle. Note: I was correct in the diagnosis. Stretching the right way took the pain away.

My 10K Work Out Prep - running

Questioning My Workout Routine

My regular regimen included weightlifting at the gym and three days of running each week. In addition to that, I incorporated at-home workouts I found online. I suspect that these home exercises might have done more harm than good to my body. After nerve testing and a MRI I found out two things going on. I had pinched my sciatica nerve as well as I have two bulging discs in my neck. After learning how to properly stretch my muscles the pain has gone away. 


My Work Out Prep - Lifting Weights


The Realization of Aging

Getting older is a reality that none of us can escape. The lesson I've learned is that my body is not the same as it was 20 years ago, and I need to adapt accordingly.


Jeep Momma running her first 10K

My 10K Checklist

Be able to run 6.2 miles My running partner and I did this a week before the race. 

Strength training  I lifted weights at the gym and at home three days a week for over six months. My muscles got stronger and increased a little bit every week. 

Proper running shoes I made sure I used shoes that were broken in.

Headgear  I wore a headband from Under Armor. A  dry-fit that kept my head dry and warm. It was in the low 30s on the day of the race.

Gloves  l wore two pairs. A pair of Nike dry-fit running gloves. The second pair allowed me to use my iPhone while I run so I could monitor my pace. 

iPhone with Map My Run App This allowed me to monitor my pace. 

Layers of clothes November gets quite chilly here but once you get running your body temperature ramps up.

Hydrate It's good to start days before the race to make sure your body is all ready to go.


Steps to Start Living Your Best Life

Declutter your Stuff  Be purposeful about this. Go drawer by drawer, closet by closet. Then do it all again in a couple of months. Emotional...