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Cold Weather Running

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
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on Wednesday, January 30, 2013
in Training

 When the temperatures drop into the teens, running outside can be uncomfortable.  Many runners opt to use a treadmill when the mercury sinks that low.  Being a runner in New England I try to avoid the treadmill whenever possible.  I really don't enjoy it.  When I saw that the weather forecast for Sunday morning was calling for temps in the low teens, I had to decide if I would hit the roads or head to the gym for my 12 mile run.  It wasn't really a hard decision.  I layered up and set out into the cold and wind.  I knew I might be uncomfortable and sluggish, but I'll gladly slog along wearing multiple layers of running clothes than face 12 miles on the treadmill.
 I know not all runners agree with me. I can see how the treadmill has its benefits. It is nice to run in shorts midwinter. You can set your pace, put in your ear buds, and zone out.  There's no doubt that you'll work up a sweat.  However, I think there are a few benefits to running in cold weather that you can't get from running on the treadmill.
 -The added weight of your clothing makes you stronger come spring.  Even if you have the top of the line technical gear, you will feel bulky. Your head, neck and maybe face will be covered to block the cold. All of this means more effort to move. When you take away the layers on that first warm day in March you'll feel free and fast!
 -Running in the elements toughens you up.  If you race in New England, you need to be prepared for all types of conditions on race day, so you should train in them too.  Even if you don't race, running through the cold and the wind gives you natural resistance. Every step you take is just a little bit harder than usual. You work harder, so you get stronger. You can't get that on the treadmill without a wind tunnel.
 So I managed to run my 12 miles and enjoy them (mostly)!  I have had some miserable runs in the cold, but over the years I've figured out what works for me with cold weather running. Here are a few tips for running in the cold.
 1) Wear thin layers that wick away moisture.  For your outermost layer try something that will break the wind and hold in heat. Don't overdress. Use a short run as a way to figure what cold weather running outfit works for you. In general, it's okay to feel cold when you start out. You should start to feel warm within 10 to 15 minutes.
 2) Cover up, head to toe.  Any exposed skin is going to allow heat to drain from your body. If you're wearing a hat, make sure it goes down low enough to cover your ears fully.  Face masks can be helpful, but a neck warmer is a great alternative. You can pull it up over your nose as needed.
 3) My toes are always cold, but I discovered one trick that helps. Before I put on my running socks I put a light coating of vaseline on my toes. It helps hold in heat. Just don't overdo it or your feet will feel slippery.
 4) Run with a friend or a group. The conversation makes the run go by faster. And you have someone to complain to about how cold it is. 
 Running in the northeast is always a challenge during the winter months. Although there may be times you will be forced to run indoors due to the weather don't totally eliminate running outdoors. With the proper dress running outside in cold weather can actually be more comfortable than running in the heat of summer. We still have a few months of winter left so if you haven't ran outside in awhile get out there! I guarantee your next run will go by a lot faster than on the dreadmill...(sorry treadmill). Laughing
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Do you listen to music while running?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Thursday, October 04, 2012
in Uncategorized

Let me start off by saying I have been running for over 20 years and I have never worn a walkman (those under 30 see picture below) i-pod, or any other device while running outdoors. Call me "old school", but I truly believe a big part of the enjoyment of running is smelling the air, enjoying the sounds of nature, and the freedom to explore new areas. There is nothing like running on a cool October morning on a country road, enjoying the sights and sounds as you cruise along at a comfortable pace. Running is a great way to escape from the day to day grind and the time to exercise your body and relax your mind.

Now that you have the picture of serenity on a nice country road......Why in the world would you want to listen to music while running? This is supposed to be your time away from everything. You would prefer to listen to your i-pod and hear the same songs that you have heard 1000 times than enjoy the sights and sounds outdoors? I think anyone that listens to music while running outdoors is missing out on a huge opportunity. Running is the time to look around and enjoy your surroundings.....Not constantly fiddling with your i-pod or phone, changing songs every 30 seconds oblivious to the world. If you have never ran outside without music try it next time. Learn to relax your mind and the joys of running free.

Even if you disagree with me there is another factor. Safety is also a huge concern when running outdoors. If your music is blaring then you are reducing your chances of hearing a car horn, fast approaching car, or any other noise that should warrant your attention. I may be in the minority but I believe listening to music while running outdoors is just a bad idea.

I do admit then when nature forces me to the dreadmill I do use an i-pod. This is totally different. There are no sights and sounds to enjoy. Safety issues do not exist. Therefore...blare your music and pray the time goes by quick. Hopefully this winter is a mild one with minimal snow so I won't have to run indoors.

 Let me know what you think...Agree or Disagree?


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