Showing posts with label winter running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter running. Show all posts

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Runner's Gotta Run...

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

I have become a weather stalker in the worst way possible. Without a treadmill as a backup, planning my runs during the last couple of weeks has required flexibility. The forecast might call for snow and we get freezing rain. The thermometer might say 42 but the streets are coated with black ice because the temperatures dipped below freezing overnight. The polar vortex slips off its rocker and rolls into Chicago once again on gusty winds. You get the picture.

Winter is always a crapshoot but for this outdoor runner, Winter 2019 has really killed my mojo. A runner's gotta run and crappy weather or not, that's what I did. There's a happy ending to this sad, sad story, though...

Monday's icy, snowy run

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Runfessions: January

Here we are again, standing in front of the runfessional. Yes, it's the last Friday of the month and it's time to clear our running conscience of all that is staining our runners' soles. Nothing to runfess? That's a runfession right there. Come on in. I promise you'll feel so much better and lighter on your feet!



Sunday, January 21, 2018

January Thaw

This post contains affiliate links.

In spite of the bitter cold that we've all been complaining about, once again this month we are experiencing a January thaw and it feels so nice! What also felt nice this week was being able to cut back on my miles a bit. Who doesn't love a cut back week? I also enjoyed some CrossFit and yoga and lunch with Marcia where we caught up on life and all things running and blogging.



Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cold as Ice

"You know that you are...cold, cold, as, as ice...." ~ Foreigner

I know it's a bad song but the lyrics to Cold As Ice have been running through my head all weekend. We had a short break from the cold this week, but we traded that bitter cold and sunshine for rainy, windy, and gloomy. I'm not saying I like the cold, but I do enjoy seeing the sunshine. When you live in the Midwest, warm weather in January always comes with a price. Still, it was nice to shed a few layers, even if it meant getting wet.

The frosty conditions returned just in time for me to wrap up the Lululemon/Strava 80/40 challenge. I swear, the act of layering up to run takes longer than the actual run itself. I'm not just running for the prize--I do need to log miles for my upcoming half and the challenge gave me some incentive to do just that. But can we please see some moderation in temperatures? Please?



Sunday, January 7, 2018

Running Over Challenges

Disclaimer: I was sent a One Up Band non-slip headband in exchange for my honest review.

It's a new year with new goals and new challenges as well as new opportunities! Starting today, I will be joining Holly as co-host of the Weekly Wrap. I'm sad to see Tricia go and I know I've got big shoes to fill. While many of the WW regulars already know me, I'm looking forward to reading some new training recaps and getting to know some more runners. There's a new badge at the bottom of this post that you can use for the linkup. If you are unfamiliar with the rules of the road, I've copied them from Holly's blog and you can find them under the Weekly Wrap tab at the top of my blog. Please let Holly or me know if you have any questions.

So how was your week? I know that a lot of us have been challenged by the weather. Most of us have been trapped in the deep freeze for the past couple of weeks. Then there was that bomb cyclone out east, which made my cold weather seem a little less awful. I'm hoping everyone is safe, dry, and warm right now.



Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Ways to Talk Yourself into Running Outdoors in the Winter

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
And the treadmill is not delightful,
Since we've no choice but to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
 ~taking liberties with Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow by Sammy Cahn

Here we are again. The days are shorter and for most of us, the temperatures are cooler. It's that time of year when the weather turns cold, the trees have shed their leaves, and the sun hides behind the clouds. It's hard to roll out of that warm bed and face the day, much less go outside for a run.

In the summer, I have no problem waking up early for a run. But when it's cold out? Steph asked me if I want to run at 6:15 on Saturday with her. I know I should, but getting up and out the door in the dark and cold is soooooo hard..... (can you hear me whining?) Can we go later?

You guys know I'm a die-hard treadmill-hating outdoor runner. But even as much as I'll run outdoors no matter what the weather, it doesn't mean that I'm always raring and ready to go! In the dead and dark of winter, there's plenty of self-talk and convincing that needs to happen before the running does. Here are some of the things I tell myself to get up and out the door when I'm not feeling it.



Friday, January 27, 2017

Runfessions: January

I can hardly believe it's the end of January, but yep, there it is! And just in time for Runfessions. I've been saving them up and I have a few...nothing too earthshattering, which in my book is a good thing!

Pull up a chair and have an anti-inflammatory smoothie.

Let the 'fessing begin...

This one's got cocoa, blueberries, banana, avocado, cinnamon, and oatmeal!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Winterlude

I wear my winter miles like a badge of honor. Snow? I'm out there. Polar vortex? The cold never bothered me anyways. Ice kind of scares me--I had an encounter with black ice this week that scared the cr*p out of me. But overall, I'm outside, putting in the miles and avoiding the treadmill as much as possible.

On Saturday, the sun came out and the temperatures skyrocketed to the 60s. When you make plans to run with blogger friends, conditions must be perfect. Wouldn't it be great if that was how things really worked?

For this January weekend, Mother Nature gave us her very best effort.




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Staying Upright While Running on the Ice

Yesterday, I had one of those runs. Of course, this post isn't actually about the run. Because running gives us so much more than just a run.

You know that run. This was a good one. My pacing was on point, my effort was easy, and I felt like I could go forever. That's how this run felt. For the first time since my diagnosis with RA, I felt like myself again. I'm sure the relatively warmer temperatures (40F) helped too.

As I neared the final half mile of my planned 10k run, I was lost in thought. Almost done, I was contemplating the day ahead.

Suddenly, my legs started to fly out from under me. Ice!

With the warmer temperatures and the overnight rains, the roads were wet. There were a lot of puddles, but I hadn't seen any ice.

Until now. I was running downhill and in that brief moment, my feet were moving faster than the rest of me.

It happened so fast. There wasn't time to panic. Instead of fighting the slide, I let it happen. I prayed. I shuffled my feet. I pumped my arms. The icy patch felt like a marathon.

Miraculously, I stayed upright. When I got to the bottom of the hill and the end of that ice, when I realized I was safe and on pavement, I slowed my pace to let my heart calm down.



Friday, December 23, 2016

5 Things You Might Not Know About Winter Running

When you live in a place that gets colder than Mars, like it was in Chicago last week, you learn a thing or 2 about running in the cold. Oh sure, I could run inside, on my treadmill, but what fun is that? I did one treadmill run last week and it was like a torture treatment. It was dark and icy and I did have to go to work, so sometimes a runner's gotta do...but there is a reason I have a 20 year old treadmill. It barely gets used.

I look at winter running as just one more item on my list of running challenges. But instead of complaining about running in the cold or making excuses for not heading outside, I embrace it. Most of the time, running in the winter isn't horrible. Most of the time, running in the winter is pretty nice.

A lot of folks have been sharing their tips about running outside. Along those lines, I wanted to share a few things about winter running that just maybe you've never even thought about.



Friday, March 4, 2016

5 Fun Facts about Running that You May Not Have Known #YakTrax

Race preparation is in full swing, and I'm always looking for an edge in my performance. Of course, who isn't? It's always fun and interesting to see what everyone thinks will make them perform better on the road. Being a science geek, I'm all about the research behind the information, and I've had a little bit of fun reviewing the latest data. I thought I'd share some of my findings with you!

5 Fun Facts About Running that You May not Have Known


So did you know....

Strength Training can make you faster:

Of course, you knew this. My n=1 (me-so unscientific) could tell you this is true. But while anecdotes make for great stories, I like to rely on research when making training decisions. This review of multiple studies of strength training and running found overwhelmingly that strength training makes runners faster. In all the studies, the runners trained for 8-12 weeks, 2-3 days on average. The weight regimens varied but were mostly low volume, low repetitions. This comes as no surprise to me. But now we have proof that it's a thing.

5 Fun Facts about Running that you May Not Have Known

What are the best running shoes? Minimalist or maximalist? Motion control?

How about the shoes that feel the best? Seriously? A large retrospective study found that the best shoes for runners were not always the ones you would think. Pronators didn't need motion control shoes. Trying to "fix" a runner's gait with shoes often led to injuries. The researchers suggested that runners try on several different pairs of shoes, run in them in the store, and buy the ones that were the most comfortable. Do what feels good.

As far as type of shoes--minimalist vs maximalist, there is no definitive data to date. But I found this amazing review from Harvard University which analyzes all things foot strike.  Barefoot runners land on their forefoot, while "shod" runners (wearing shoes) mostly heel strike. And the answer to that ever present question: is heel striking bad? No! Good news for this heel striker. If you desire more information on this topic, chase the link. And the Gait Guys-yep, they have a blog--analyze the potential impact of Hoka, the most maximal shoes around. What do they say? It's all theoretical, but they are concerned that the Hokas make a runner land harder. Just because they can. Stay tuned.

Me, I'll just stick to my super cushy but not over the top Asics Gel Nimbus. Since I'm a born heel striker, they cushion my landing. They've brought me lots of good miles over the years. If it feels good, do it, right?

5 Fun Facts About Running That You May Not Have Known

Oh and by the way, in case you were wondering...what are the most popular shoes? Nike, followed by Brooks, Adidas, and Asics. Just do it.

The best fuel for the long run? It's still out for debate.

I was thrilled this week to find out that I was chosen to represent my favorite long distance fuel, Tailwind Nutrition. This fuel has been used with great success by ultramarathoners, and I figured if it was good enough for them, it was good enough for me. Tailwind has been a recipe for success, at least for this runner. I have a ton of tummy issues and have struggled with fueling over the years. Tailwind is a liquid fuel, and it is the first fuel I've used that hasn't sent me running to the portapotty. The company motto is, after all, "no gut bombs".

The use of carbohydrates to fuel during an endurance event and their effectiveness has been well studied. So what's new in the world of endurance fuel?

Everyone's looking for an edge. Right now, they're looking at protein.

There's been plenty of evidence to support the use of protein for recovery. This large systematic review found overwhelming evidence to demonstrate that protein following an endurance workout benefits muscle anabolism, which may lead to improved recovery of muscle function and performance. But what about during an endurance event? Should we take protein along with our carbs? The results have been mixed, and since protein has to be digested, it's probably best for those of us with tummy issues to stick to our simple carbohydrates.

Remember, there is no magic fuel, no matter what you hear. There are a ton of options out there, and every manufacturer wants you to believe that their fuel will make you run faster, farther, and even avoid the wall. Find the fuel that works best for you. Make sure you road test your fuel choices on your long runs. Don't be "that" runner...

5 Fun Facts About Running That You May Not Have Known

Heat Training is a simple as taking a hot bath after a run.

Last year, as I was preparing for the Sarasota Half Marathon, I started doing "heat training". I knew from past experience that running a race in Florida in March was going to be a huge challenge coming from the polar vortex I had been running in all winter. So to simulate running in warm conditions, I ran on my treadmill wearing heavy sweats and a hat. No fan. Let me tell you how much it sucked. But as the weeks went on, I developed tolerance to those runs and got faster. I never was able to try out my training, as I had to defer that race to this year. But I did run a local half that ended up being a PR for me.

Turns out I was onto something.

Besides running in heavy clothing on the treadmill, what else is there for a runner to do to prep for a warm climate race? If only I had a sauna...but I don't. I do have a bathtub! And as it turns out, researchers have been looking at hot baths as a way to acclimate to the heat. This 6 day study looked at runners who took a 40 minute hot bath after a 40 minute run in temperate conditions. The runners ran 5% faster in hot conditions, but no faster in temperate conditions. Still, it would be worth a try! Who doesn't like a hot bath? I wonder if my husband would install a hot tub on our deck? For heat acclimation purposes..


This year I haven't been doing heat training to prepare for that Florida race (which is in about a week). I'm training for my full marathon and haven't been doing treadmill runs. Shame on me. But my focus has really been on my marathon. This Florida half is just a training run. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Pretty sure I'm going to be humbled by that Florida heat and humidity. Been there, done that.

Oh, and by the way, heat isn't the only devil. In my research for this post, I also learned that ice baths may interfere with training gains. Researchers examined strength and inflammatory markers in subjects who took ice baths after a strength workout. Interestingly, subjects did worse on performance after the ice bath; inflammatory markers (which are an indication of tissue damage and are elevated after a workout) were still elevated after the ice baths. The perfect excuse for me not to submerge myself in ice.

Running in the cold

The ideal temp for running is 52F. Right now, that sounds downright balmy to me. While we've not spent much time in the polar vortex this winter, it has been seasonally chilly. Why does running in the bitter cold feel as hard as running in 90F? Maybe I tend not to fuel properly in cold weather runs. The cold temps give the illusion that my effort isn't as hard--I'm not sweating as much. According to this article on Runners Academy, once the outside temperature drops below 32F, you start to see an impact on your pace. This is due to a variety of factors, and bottom line, runners need to pay as much attention to fueling and hydration as they do in the heat. Dressing warmly is a good idea too!

5 Fun Facts About Running That You May Not Have Known

While we are on the subject of cold weather running, I want to talk about running safely when the conditions are less than ideal. You all know I run outdoors no matter what the conditions. So when YakTrax contacted me to review their latest model, I was all over it. I've run with YakTrax for many years with great success. I couldn't wait to test the new model. But there was one issue. We've had little to no snow this winter. The last time I ran in my old pair of YakTrax was November, when we got that foot of snow. I was a little nervous about agreeing to trial these because I didn't know if the weather would cooperate!

Anyways, even though the groundhog said winter was over, we all know that Mother Nature is a fickle beast. She's teased us with some really warm days, but we've also gotten a bit of snow this past week. I was glad simply because I wanted to put my new Yak Trax to the test. These were an upgrade from my previous pairs (I've owned 2 pairs prior to this). Like the YakTrax I've used in the past, they slip over my shoes, and stay put with a velcro strap across my forefoot. This model has a strap that attaches to the toe piece, and that gave them a little extra security. I ran in about an inch or 2 of crusty snow and felt very confident that I wouldn't slip. My pace was a little slower than it would have been without the YakTrax, but that is to be expected since the YakTrax do make your shoes a little stiffer.

Running on snow with the YakTrax is much easier on your legs than running on the pavement. Obviously, they aren't intended for use on dry pavement but when I'm running in the neighborhood, it can't be avoided completely. In the past when I've run with my YakTrax, I've found that I'm more sore than when I run in just my shoes. The other comment I have is that the old YakTrax did not completely prevent you from slipping on ice. The old model just had coils and when I ran in those, I did have some wipe outs on black ice. This model has spikes on them, which is new. Hopefully, the spikes will give the runner a little more traction in icy conditions. I didn't have any slippage on my test run.

I highly recommend YakTrax if you like to run or walk outside and have to contend with snow. I love this product. But I hope this is the last time this season that I have to use them!

5 Fun Facts About Running That you May Not Have Known

YakTrax sent me a pair in exchange for my unbiased review.

What new things have you recently learned that has benefited your running? What's your favorite fuel? Is your pace affected by temperature extremes? Shoes--minimal, maximal, or moderate?

I'm linking up with the Friday Five aka the DC Trifecta: Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia












Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The whiner's guide to staying accountable in the winter

What do you mean you don't want to go for a run?

"It's too coooollllld!"

"It's dark oooouuuut!"

"It's haaaaaaaaard!"

"Running suuuuuuuucks..."

Waa, waa, waa. I too speak whinese.



You call yourself a runner?

Whining never got anything done. Trust me. Sure, sometimes it feels good to whine. "I don't waaaaaant toooooo!" They don't call me Wendy Whiner for nothing. Oh wait, that wasn't me. That was an SNL character back in the day.

I won't deny it. I have done my share of whining. I have the whining gene in my DNA.

So how does a whiner shake off the funk and get out there in the cold?

Experience is the best teacher. And I've got a pep talk for you.



1. The first step to resolution is to acknowledge the problem. You're right, it's cold out. Yes, it's dark. The bed never felt so good. But remember this: you're awake now, so you may as well get up and go. You are a runner and that's what we do. We run. So suck it up.

2. Visualize yourself running. Wimps don't run in the cold and dark. Everyone else who's still in bed? Sloths. You are not a sloth. You are a beast. You are superhuman. You are a runner. And you're going to get it done before the sun. As my dad used to tell my sisters and me when we didn't want to do something, "it will put hair on your chest." Think about that as you're running around your neighborhood.

3. Think about the bragging rights you get for running outside in the winter. You can casually drop this little nugget at the water cooler:
"Yep, yep, heh, heh,  I got in 5 miles before I came into work today."
or
"The cold? What cold? I've got hair on my chest."
Your selfies will already have 100 likes on IG before anyone else even posts their run. Maybe you'll be called a badass mother runner. Maybe you'll be reposted. Maybe you'll be called crazy, which is a compliment in any runner's book.

Last winter. Me.
4. Then there's that whole zen thing to running outside in the winter. You get to be one with nature. The peace. The beauty. There's a pretty good chance that you will see the sun come up. A sunrise never gets old. You get to greet a new day. And you get to brag about it. See #3 above. Of course, you might see skunks or other wild animals, which will, besides giving you some good stories, will put an extra pep in your step.

5. Running first thing in the morning fires up your calorie burning furnace, no matter what time of year it is. You get to eat all the food. While your co-worker or friend is nibbling on an apple and a carton of yogurt, you get to gorge yourself on all the food. Pass the chocolate cake. Smiling like a runner.

6. If none of the above gets you going, remind yourself how bad you'll feel if you skip this run. Oh, trust me on this one. That extra sleep might seem so appealing, the warm bed so tempting, but as the day wears on, you'll kick yourself for skipping the run.And just try running after work. Sure, you can do it. Can you?



7. Remind yourself that this too will pass. Heck, it's already mid-January! Winter goes and spring races come. And guess who will be ready? You. Yep, winter running sucks. Spring is our reward. You have to earn it.

8. Of course, sometimes the weather is just too dicey for even the most die-hard runner. Icy conditions are dangerous, and no one wants to risk that. While there's no glory in running on the treadmill, sometimes a runner just has to. Badass in its own way, for a "real" runner, running on the treadmill is a special kind of torture. Although most non-runners don't quite see it that way, it's ok. You can whine all you want if you take it to the 'mill. A whiner's gotta do what a whiner's gotta do. Just do it.

Any more excuses?

I didn't think so.

Layer up, put on your YakTrax (affiliate link), and let's go! Remember, if running in the winter was easy, it would be called your mom...

The one sign I saw a million times at the marathon. Finally, I get it.
Do you run outside in the winter? (Florida and California residents need not apply.) What tips do you want to share? What pushes you out the door? How do you stay accountable?

I'm linking up with DebRuns and Wednesday Word. Today's word is accountable!











I'm also linking up with the FitFoodieMama, AngelenaMarie, FitfulFocus, and FruitionFitness for Wild Workout Wednesday! Have a wild workout!