Essential Wear for Winter Running

Source: runnersforum.com

Source: runnersforum.com

My last couple posts would have seen to getting you ready for this season’s running; since I figure I’m sorta responsible for your up and out, it’s all I can do to make sure you’re properly equipped to do so by getting you in gear. While it’s all well and good to have a well-thought-out training plan and the right attitude, if you lack the proper tools to execute your plan, it’ll all have been for nought. The concept of dressing for success does not only apply to the corporate person but really speaks to anyone who seeks to win at what he or she chooses to do. Hence why running in winter requires paying due attention to wearing the right apparel.

Coach Jenny Hadfield, writing for Active.com, insists that your winter wardrobe should include running jacket,hat, headband, gloves, tights and long-sleeve shirts. Duh right? But you may be surprised how thoughtless we can sometimes be. Accidents and illnesses happen in most cases without warning and before you know it all your well thought out plans could be shot to hell in a careless run; our goal is to make sure you stay wise, warm, healthy and safe as much as we can. A general rule of thumb is to dress 20 degrees warmer than it actually is as the body generates enough heat while running to ensure that if you’re adequately covered you will be just fine. Slightly cool is a good place to start. Just make sure to layer up using more or less layers as the temperature determines. Adding to the above, wearing the right fabric is very important to wick moisture away from your skin to keep your body as dry and warm as possible.

My experience has taught me that I’m one of those “always cold people” and so I’ve found that depending on how cold and/or windy it gets, I may alternate, drastically sometimes, between as much as four layers on top; a vest, a base ( technical shirt) layer, sometimes a fleece top (vest) and jacket and double layers of tights and pants to just double layers on top and a tights and shorts at other times.  Mittens or gloves or two depending, a headband and a hat is understood. Very rarely do I wear sunglasses but always sunscreen as I try to do as much of my winter training runs at the time of day with the highest sunlight to absorb whatever rare amount of vitamin D that’s available, as well as to minimize exposure to the cold.

Also, I’ve never been out running in minus anything and used to think that I’d surely die if I did but I don’t know, I’m a different person than I was even two years ago, more tolerant, more adventurous, more determined – maybe more of a badass – I like to think anyway, so who knows what the very near future might hold. Let’s just say I’m open this time around and in honor of that I’ve decided to purchase a balaclava – a mask that fits over the head, around the neck and over to mouth to protect against the cold – hell I’m sure it won’t even have to get that cold for me to don it, but regardless it’ll join my wardrobe of running must-haves. Another must-have, at least if you’re planning on going out whether ice, slush or snow, is proper shoes. I swear by trail running sneakers with as little mesh as possible for traction on the ice and to keep my feet dry along with wool socks that wicks away moisture but keeps them warm. Another option to provide stability are those removable traction devices like, Yak Trax, that you can easily place on and remove when you get off running.

I’m sure to the average runner this sounds like a lot of fuss while to the untrained eye it may even seem unnecessary but those who live anywhere there’s winter, and I’m not talking mild cold here, such folks can relate to why we would go to such lengths to protect ourselves from the elements. As to why we would go running in that kind of weather is another question altogether. I can venture a few guesses: we’re of the typical crazy-runner-type, the outfits are super cute? it’s fun if you really think about it? I think I’m running out of reasons and so now you have to go shopping – the best part!

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Tips for your Best Running this Summer

source:123rf.com

source:123rf.com

We’ve entered the official phrase of Summer, and without much fanfare I might add. Given the circus of a weather we’ve been having, it is no wonder. In any event, now that’s it here I encourage you to milk it for all that’s it worth and strive to derive the maximum pleasure allowed while running. Here’s how:

  • Run either early mornings before the sun rises or late evenings after it sets. While we love the sun, it’s only the extremely adventurous or crazy who run in it.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Nothing screams newbie as Β one who goes for a run in clothing made of non-breathable material in summer!
  • It follows, you should wear proper running shoes. This is a strict rule for runners, as we value staying injury-free above all else. Plus, it fits right in with that “dress for success” saying.
  • Hydrate well. Practicing proper hydration during summer is valuable not just for runners but everyone who’s concerned with pursuing good heaIth. It can determine your efficiency & effectiveness out on the track or roads as well as save you time and a hospital bill should you collapse from heat exhaustion or the like. Plus, it’s pretty affordable to keep water on hand at all times.
  • I maintain that variety is the spice of life. Mix it up a little and get adventurous in your running this summer. Why not try some trail running. Download a trail app and discover running trails in your area you never even knew existed. Something new, something different, something that will add a twist of fun to your running routine. Running during the day is an option here, as trails come with trees and lots of overhead cover.
  • Talking about variety: What’s summer without an extreme racing experience! Ever tried an obstacle race, a mud run, the Spartan experience, a color run or any one of the dozens of races geared at thrill seekers? I promise it’s a must-have experience, even if you only ever do it just one time, though I’m betting you’ll be back for more.
  • Finally, running and friends go hand in hand. Though it can have its solitary moments, running is a social sport. Runners love people and this summer is the perfect time to hook up with a running group of some kind. Hint: I’m a meet-up kinda girl myself and I’ve met some really awesome people through those groups, so here’s another opportunity to try something different. It comes with an almost money-back-guarantee you’ll be pleased with the outcome.

Summer is all about having fun and exploring new opportunities. It carries a feeling of all-that-you-can-do-before-the-good-days-are-gone; but you want to enjoy yourself and have fun doing it all. If you try a few of these, your running is sure to be fun -which is the main goal – hell, try them all and you’re sure to have your best summer of running yet. Runners honor!

Setting yourself up for a GREAT. RUN. this Spring

imageYou may have gotten over the initial excitement of Spring only to be faced with the harsh reality of life: that it’s not all a run; there are stumbles and stops and even falls but to reap the benefits of success, we must pick up and press on, and on those odd times when we fall off the proverbial wagon, begin again.

There are two perspectives that lie in tangent: seeing Spring as a season of growth, change and newness in other living things or living each day as Spring and applying the growth, change and newness to include oneself, since we fall under the category of living things. The latter allows for facing each day with an attitude of challenge and expectation. I have always maintained that running is a sport of the mind performed by the body. Since the mind is where it all begins, it follows that perspective makes or breaks a runner. With the right attitude, there is no race that is unattainable and no run that is unconquerable. Whether it’s 1 mile, a 5k, 26.2 miles or even an ultra marathon; through mud or fire, over obstacles, in color, whatever it may be, it all begins the same place, which by the way, is half-way accomplished when its been committed to. Believe it or not, that was the toughest part; setting the goal and coming up with a plan to follow through.

imageWith that out of the way, we can now focus on fun things like gearing up, partnering up, diet and motivation. Since Spring is one of the best seasons for running, running gear is pretty easy to select and readily accessible. Running shoes are very important and therefore, one should select wisely. Here, I recommend going to a running store and using the treadmill there so that the sales associate, who is generally more knowledgable on these matters, can asses your gait and stride to get you a right fit. While brands abound with regards to design, color, fit, taste and price, one should be careful to never sacrifice on fit and comfort. A tip here is to always buy one size up your normal shoe size and to ensure you have enough support for your heels if that’s where you place emphasis or in my case, the balls of the feet. Now shoes in hand or more likely, on feet, we can look for comfort and style in choosing breathable running clothes that fit properly. Here, try to avoid all-cotton materials and restrictive clothing. Choose something functional but fun as I’m sure you also want to look good. Being able to wear shorts and tanks are way cool after three plus months of layers so that’s half the decision made. We’re geared up and ready to hit the tracks, roads, trails..whatever your passion..be careful to fuel up before, during and after your runs to stay hydrated. Some drinking options include: Gatorade, Powerade and coconut water, while chocolate milk and fruit or vegetable smoothies with granola make a great recovery drink. In addition, it is always wiser to eat a couple of hours before your run so there’s ample time for digestion. If eating later on, after your run and closer to late evening and night-time, then foods that are easily digested and low in calories and fat are recommended.

imageMotivating yourself through Spring may become a bit difficult from time to time as the weather can be quite crazy: wet, windy, chilly etc. But the trick is to stay on target by friendly reminders from partners, friends, your phone and written goals, and to surround yourself with like-minded people who will encourage and allow you to not only dream, but to run those dreams and become the champion you are. Plus, we do get those oh-so-gorgeous-sun-shiny-days..so grab those ear buds if that’s your fancy, make sure to choose ones that stay put while running; those that go around the ears or over the head are fine, with proper kick-ass music and strap on your watch or timer and keep it moving.

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