There is only one thing harder than training for an endurance race and that is training for an endurance race when it is cold out. 45 degrees is my ideal running temperature, it’s not too hot and it’s too cold. You don’t sweat profusely and you can wear pants, capris, or shorts. When it’s 45 degrees the world is your oyster. Unfortunately it’s very rarely 45 degrees. There are two times of the year that throws a monkey wrench into training and its winter and summer. When it comes to winter runs, you can’t let the fact that the cold weather feels like there is a dementor sucking out your soul derail your training efforts. Here are some pep talks and tips to help not only get out the door but make it further than down the block:
“I am in the Bahamas. I am in the Bahamas.”
You have to trick your brain! Keep repeating that you are in the Bahamas! Never been to the Bahamas? EVEN BETTER! You have to rely on your imagination to feel that 100 degree heat. Feel the heat. Be the heat. Surround yourself with fake imaginary heat.
You can always shed layers but you can never add them. If you aren’t sure if you should wear that extra layer, start with it. Wearing a jacket around your waist may be annoying but it’s much less annoying than hypothermia or spending the run regretting that you didn’t bring it. When in doubt, extra layer.
Hot Chocolate and Hot Water
I tend to run in Manhattan which leaves me with a 20-30 minute public transit ride back to Brooklyn after I finish my run. To stay warm on my commute, I go to a coffee shop and order a large hot chocolate with skim milk, no whip cream :( and a large hot water. I pour the hot water into my handheld water bottle. I hold the hot water while I drink the hot chocolate and when I finish the hot chocolate I start on the water. It keeps me warm during my cold and wet commute home. (At the most 25 minutes.)
“Suck it up. Suck it up. Suck it up.”
Self explanatory: That half marathon or marathon you’re training for isn’t going to run itself. And I don’t know about you but there’s no way I am doing my long runs on a treadmill. Sometimes you just have to say, “Hey! Brain! SUCK IT UP! This will all be over before we know it.”
Run at the Warmest Time of the Day
Normally I like to get my long runs in first thing on Saturday mornings so I can have my day open for activities and adventures. Not this winter. So far we’ve had a really mild winter (all my voo doo is working!) so if I can wait until 1:00pm when its 35 degrees instead of 27 degrees, I wait. I know, it’s only a couple degrees of a difference but I’m a big fat baby and I hate when it’s really cold. I’ll take 35 over 27 any day.
Protect those Hands, Feet, and Head
Wool socks, warm athletic gloves that cut the wind, not just headbands that cover your ears but full on beanies. Arguably the three body parts that will make you miserable while running in the cold are your feet, hands, and head. Take care of them. Keep them warm. Protect them.
Stay warm out there friends and use those imaginations. Imagine you are in a warmer, happier place. Imagine that snow is sand. Summer will be here before we know it and we'll be back to complaining about how hot it is, I promise.
New Yorkers! Want a fun way to get out of the cold weather? I have 20 passes to give away to an advance screening of Disney's new running movie "McFarland, USA."
Inspired by the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.
It sounds amazing! If you are in the New York City area this coming Wednesday January 28th, fill in the blank for a chance to win a pair of tickets to an advance screening of the McFarland, USA.
My favorite way to get active is ______.
(Mine obviously #hottiehunting, I mean running.)
Check out McFarland, USA when it comes out in theaters February 20th!