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11462 Views 30 Replies Latest reply: Jan 22, 2012 11:44 AM by Joseph Tree 1 2 3 Previous Next
protometal Pro 124 posts since
Aug 31, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 24, 2011 6:23 AM

Dealing with fall / winter

Hello,

 

I returned to running after a long (almost 20 year) layoff and am very happy with my progress this year. I am worried about just one thing - keeping it going through a long fall and winter in a northern state. While I consider this year to be my "comeback", I really started back to running in mid-late summer last year. I did my "goal" race in October, got the chance to go on vacation and upon my return did nothing until March. Most of the progress I made the previous year was gone. I have been pretty dedicated this year - I have improved far beyond what I could do last year, and best of all, I am enjoying running. However, I am near the time of the year where I stopped last year. I do not intend to stop this year, but there are many challenges associated with the fall and winter that I could use some help on. These include the following:

 

1. Lack of sunlight: I work long hours 4 days out of the week. The good part is that I'm off for 3, but I, even in the summer, have trouble getting runs in during the week. I usually run on Saturday and Monday and then struggle to  get a run in Wednesday or Thursday. On rare occasions I get two runs in during the 4 days I work. However, the daylight is dwindling. It is dark when I get up in the morning now and, by the time I get home, maybe I have an hour of light. In a couple weeks, it will be getting dark when I get home too...

 

2. Cold weather: I am actually less worried about the cold than I am about the lack of daylight, but it will definately be a factor, especially November - February. I can do t-shirt and shorts down to about 50 degrees or so. This is logically most comfortable. Colder than that, I've have mixed results with sport pants, sweat pants, long sleeve shirts, jackets, etc. I just don't like feeling like I'm running in a cocoon, but I don't like being cold either. I haven't really invested in gear specifically for running in the cold (I did just buy a long sleeve shirt of a thicker, wicking material like my race day running shirts). I really don't know what to get and, while I can spend some money, I can't break the bank on clothing.

 

3. Fewer race opportunities: Races keep me going. When I have a race, I have a goal. This race next week is my "goal race" for the late summer / fall. I've put a lot into it and am excited to run it. I have few definate plans for the rest of the year. I do still have a 5k time goal to meet (which helps) and I have found that there are more fall races around than I previously knew about. I think I need the races less than I did when I started (I'm much more self-motivated now), but I still love to run them and still need them in many ways.

 

4. Likely slowed improvement: I feel like I am getting fast (for me anyway) in the fall thus far. People in this forum were right about the work put in during the hot summer paying off. If I can't run as much and continue to run faster and further that I might not improve or regress. I know I'll pick up speed again when the weather breaks, but I'm afraid that I will be discouraged if I don't think I'm getting better.

 

I do not plan to stop running and think I've made a lifestyle change and am not just going through a "phase". However, I am realistic and have some concerns based upon recent history. I would love to hear from others regarding how they deal with the above issues or others relating to getting through the fall / winter. I can do it, but welcome any help! Thanks!





Protometal

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"-- Henry Ford

Upcoming races: Super 5k 2/3/13

Select Recent Results: Brooksie Way Half Marathon - 1:49:09 (Half Marathon PR), Open Door Julie Run 5k - 22:16 (2nd place age group, PR)

Check out my Running Blog: http://clippinalong.blogspot.com .

  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Sep 24, 2011 5:32 PM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    I ran through my first winter last year and know what you're talking about.  I had no idea how it would be to try to get through the dark and icy months. By making it a real priority and by taking and mking every opportunity I could, I was running pretty well come March.  I did sign up early for a mid-march 10 mile race to set my sights on.  But mostly it was just thinking "I'm a runner!"  and making the runs happen that made the difference. 

     

    You'll find the clothes you need without breaking the bank. Try Ross or TJ Maxx for off price items.  I'm in PA, not far from Philly, and we get a fairly brutal winter here.  My go to outfit was leggings and a good wicking shirt with another layer of something over that, the weight depending on how hard the wind was blowing.  I was good down to just over zero if the wind wasn't too high.

     

    The main limiting factor for me was my feet.  I ran barefoot until it was just too damn cold, about 25F.  If it was wet that went up to 35 or 38.  I found that with Vibram 5Fingers I was good down pretty much to my lowest limit if it was dry.  Snow was easy.  It went down around my ankles, but it didn't hurt.  Old refrozen slush, full of footprints was horrible.  Here's 2 key bits of wisdom:

     

    1.  Cotton kills!  don't wear any cotton next to your skin or even close.  It gets wet from sweat or condensation and starts to chill you down.  No good.

     

    2.  Get dressed to run outside, hat and everything and then find something to do inside for 10 minutes or so.  Get yourself to the point where you're almost hot, but NOT sweating before you go out.  You'll be much happier.





    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

    04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )

    03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)

    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

    11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40

    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

    Started running (again) May 5, 2010

  • Debm2011 Legend 361 posts since
    Jun 12, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Sep 25, 2011 11:30 AM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    I'm going into my first winter myself, but I have been running in the dark the last month (5:15 or 5:30 a.m.2 to 3 days a week before school drop off/work).  Getting out of bed is the worst - my secret?  If I think it will be hard to get up and get dressed and get out the door, I sleep in my running clothes.  I know it sounds weird, but shorts and a tank or tee depending on the forecast  - then I just throw on socks and shoes and off I go.  I have a reflective arm/ankle band with a flashing light to make me more visible - and will occasionally use a headlamp for visibility or to make it easier for me to see if its really dark.  I stick to streets with street lights and main roads (just in case).  I'm not sure what to do when it gets cold, but I'll try to dress accordingly and hope there isn't a lot of snow and ice this year (I'm outside of Boston so our winters can be brutal).  Good luck!

     

    Thanks Joseph Tree - good advice - and definitely no cotton - it gets even worse if the wind is blowing through your layers.  brrrrr  btw I'm originally from outside Philly - those winters are comparable to Boston's, except maybe a little shorter of a season.

     

    Target has women's running clothes at a good price (that's my only perspective)

  • jeljohns Pro 106 posts since
    Jan 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Sep 25, 2011 12:16 PM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    Also going into my second brutal winter as a runner. Last year I got started running for the first time at the end of the summer. I ran November-February on a treadmill at the gym.

     

    This year I'd like to brave runs outside. I have a treadmill at home now and will most likely do shorter runs on it during the week. For the outside runs I've researched what areas in my city keep things plowed. We have quite a few well lit trails and paths that are maintained through the winter. That might be one option to check out in your area.

     

    I just started stocking up on cold weather running gear. Sierra Trading Post and Running Warehouse have a decent sale selection of jackets and cold weather tights.

     

    I'm a little worried about my shoes (Kinvaras) they seem to have little to know traction on a slick road.

  • RobinfromMaine Pro 162 posts since
    Dec 6, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Sep 25, 2011 4:03 PM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    I'm going into my fourth winter of running in Maine. It is cold, it snows, the sun rises late and sets wicked early.

     

    The first year I ran, starting in May, I also wondered how I was going to keep my fitness -- I figured anywhere from five to seven months. I had been using a manual treadmill, so I did have some options. As it happened,  I realized that as long as the road was dry, I could run, just adding layers. I don't run barefoot, but the only other tech clothing I need for winter is a top. I move from denim shorts and tee shirt to soft corduroy pants with an elastic waist, and a sweatshirt over the tee shirt. As the temperatures get colder I add (in order) a polar fleece vest, headband that covers my ears, cheap knit gloves, long underwear from K-mart ($5.00 each for top and bottom), a knit hat over the headband, the tech shirt, and finally a scarf to cover my mouth and nose. That is pretty good at about 10 degrees above zero, and wind doesn't seem to make much difference. I also hate to be cold, and Joseph Tree's advice on warming up indoors for ten minutes is excellent.

     

    My first winter I missed three weeks running outside (and cross-trained on a manual treadmill)

    My second winter I stepped up the cross training and sustained an injury, missing the chance to run in the first winter in living memory when it never snowed after January 15. I was out for 11 weeks, and had to scrounge up the time to go to the gym and use the elliptical.

    My third winter the longest I went without running outside was seven days, but I did very little cross-training, and a series of pesky 1-2 inch snowfalls (not enough to plow so the shoulders of the road were too icy or slushy to run safely) kept my February mileage down to 49, and it took a couple more months after that to get up to speed.

     

    By the way, it might not be a bad idea to back off *some* in the winter, to reduce the chance of over-training. This winter I am thinking about going back to the gym during January and February

     

     

    Good luck.

     

    Robin

  • JasonFitz1 Legend 574 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Sep 25, 2011 4:16 PM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    I feel your pain! I grew up training north of Boston and then ran in college in Connecticut along the coast. Definitely not the best winter training locations.

     

    But provided there's not a ton of snow, you can get in some really great training in the colder temperatures. Bill Bowerman once said, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." It's a fun quote, but I'd amend it to "There's no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices."

     

    I'd recommend a pair of Under Armour Cold Gear tights and 1-2 technical long sleeve shirts layered for warmth. Put a wicking material closest to your skin and a fleece or merino wool outer layer on top. You'll be able to run in almost any temperature!  Hat and gloves recommended

     

    On 9/26 the Rebel Running Guide is coming out that includes a section on running in the cold. You could check it out if you're interested (just go to my site in the footer).

     

    Good luck!
    - Jason.





    Strength Running
  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Sep 26, 2011 6:36 PM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    I like "catseyes" which are small clip-on flashing lights that are really hard to miss but don't cost much.  They aren't for illumination, just for improving your visibility.  Don't clip them in your own line of sight- they''ll drive you nuts!





    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

    04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )

    03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)

    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

    11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40

    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

    Started running (again) May 5, 2010

  • Debm2011 Legend 361 posts since
    Jun 12, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Sep 28, 2011 8:50 PM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    I ran with my headlamp yesterday morning.  At first I hated it - it felt "weird" on my head so I took it off and carried it for a while and then got sick of carrying it so I put it back on. I wear it for hours on end camping, but it just felt different running for some reason - perhaps there was some bounce.   When I got to the stretches of road with fewer street lights I was happy I had it.  It saved me from a cleft in the sidewalk that I might have tripped over, and also from running right through a sprinkler crossing the sidewalk (I really didn't want to get wet that morning). The light bounced off the water stream and I was able to avoid it - I never would have seen it without the light.  So I got used to wearing the headlamp.  I wear it over a BondiBand for cushioning and so the headlamp won't get all sweaty.  My headlamp has a tilt feature so I can tilt it down or have it pointing straight ahead.  I also have the flashing light for visibility that I wear on my ankle so cars can see me.  In sum, I will continue to wear my headlamp when I'm out in the dark.

  • chamberlain66 Rookie 2 posts since
    Oct 8, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Feb 19, 2013 4:03 AM (in response to protometal)
    Re: Dealing with fall / winter

    Great question about fall / winter running.  I've been running year round for about 8-10 years now and I just wanted to chime in out what I have found to be some pretty good solutions for me.

     

    1. As far as winter running gear, my advise would be to buy clothing that will last and that do the job properly.  A few years ago I invested in some Under Armor clothing...yes a bit pricey...but it does exactly what it claims to do and it last for "ever".  Dress in layers and on extremely cold days, make sure to cover exposed skin.  I live in western NY and it does get brutally cold and winter at times...not to mention quite a bit of snow falling.  I have done some runs in some of the most nasty weather last year where the temps were in the teens, wind blowing at 10-15 mph, and snow falling vertically.  Not ideal weather conditions...but my thought was that it would make me a better and tougher runner in the long run, when pain and fatigue wouldn't slow me down.  That is still TBD. 

     

    2.  My first thoughts when winter running is safety first.  So if I'm running in the dark, I try and make sure that I am visible to on coming traffic.  I try and stay off the main rounds and keep to well lit neighborhoods.  During the summer months, I've been getting up at 3:30 to go for my runs.  I would carry with me a glow stick that also doubles as a flashing light.  I would always hold it in my hand on the side of on coming traffic.  It may not be the best solution, but it seems to do the trick.  I have a reflective vest that I picked up at Home Depot for $5, but it is too loose.  I'll invest in some better night gear this winter.

     

    3.  Getting over the darkness.  I still haven't figured this one out yet.  But I get up at 3:30 in the morning...but I try and loosen up for about 15 - 20 mins. before I go out.  I walk around and listen to music to try and shake off those morning cob webbs.  I think once you get into that morning rythm, you'll find out what works for you.

  • nowirun4fun Legend 208 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Oct 3, 2011 9:19 AM (in response to chamberlain66)
    Re: Dealing with fall / winter

    I second Jason's thoughts on weather and Bill Bowerman.  I long ago decided to not let the weather control my life, with respect to summer's heat or winter's cold.  Thunderstorms I pay attention to - otherwise if it's just the weather I refuse to let it get in the way.  That doesn't mean it's easy, especially winter weather.  Cold is one thing, but throw in a brutal wind like JosephTree and I get in this Philly area and it makes for some pretty challenging conditions.  I know of no clothing solutions that can make some of the lung searing wind chills any more tolerable.   Another challenge I have is eyewear to make that more tolerable, which I don't have fully solved either.   That being said - the best cold days sure make for some great pictures when the wife gets to photograph the icicles hanging off my face after I come in from a good one.

     

    Loved the good suggestions for the darkness - I really need to improve handling that in my own routine.  Just one misstep from lack of lighting can really ruin your day.  I took up a reflective vest last year, but I swear the idiot drivers around here just use that to make me an easier target to play chicken with.

     

    As for clothing, I'll cast another vote for the Under Armour ColdGear line up.  Their products are just the best and in many things are surprisingly effective while lightweight.  And, perhaps the only good thing about winter running,  is they don't get as stinky as quick as summer gear.   My weakest link is my hands.  I'll actually start to soon suffer with my Raynaud's phenomenon which just started last year and got progressivly worse all winter.  Talk about freaky.  I really haven't found any gloves or mittens which can keep me fully comfortable in the worst of conditions for an hour run.  Last years best winter day was by the time I got to the end of the workout, my squeeze bottle of accerlade had turned to a popsicle.

     

    @JosephTree - I was always curious how that barefooting worked for you during the winter months.  Your posts and other things actually have got me currently trying to break in a pair of 5-fingers.

  • MelodyLea Legend 329 posts since
    Oct 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Oct 4, 2011 5:54 PM (in response to nowirun4fun)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    Its been a pleasure reading all your posts about winter running and getting some new tips.

    I'm going into my 7th year of winter running here in Mass. Running through the winter is one of the ways that I cope with long cold winter months, I almost always have a great winter "attitude" adjustment after each chilly run.

    The only thing I'd like to add, is keeping something over your mouth will help with any cold air triggered asthma, especially for temperatures below 10-15 degrees. My favorite piece of clothing for that is a light wool balaclava, (like a full face ski mask). The one I have can be adjusted when I feel like I've warmed up enough to uncover my mouth. If the temps are below 10 degrees, I have a wild looking by highly effective face mask called a Psolar.EX Cold Weather Face Mask. I look like a cross between Darth Vader and a Ninja, BUT no burning lungs or asthma symptoms.

    Nice to visit you all!





    My Fine Art Website

    Age: 53

    1980 Humboldt Redwoods Marathon

    Best 5K time: 31 minutes

    Best 10K time: 1:12

    First 1/2 Marathon: 2:43

    Raised $4491 for animal charity through running

    For 2013:

    Memorial Day 5/26 10K- I hope to raise $3000 for animal charity in my "Run For The Critters"

    Maine Marathon 9/29- I hope to finish 2:30

  • Dreamstate Legend 278 posts since
    Dec 1, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Oct 6, 2011 7:49 AM (in response to jeljohns)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    @jeljohns: I had no idea Running Warehouse existed! Thank you! What a wonderful site!





    Completed Races 2012:

    Rock and Roll USA Half Marathon, 02:54:26 (1st run POST injury)

    Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, 01:49:00

    ====================================

    Upcoming Races 2012:

    IronGirl Half Marathon, 4/29/12

    Frederick Half Marathon, 5/6/12

    Atlantic City International Sprint Tri, 09/17/12

    Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon, 09/18/12

    Baltimore Half Marathon, 10/13/12

    Marine Corps Marathon, 10/28/12

    ING NYC Marathon, 11/4/12

    ====================================

    Personal Record from 2011:

    Teach, Learn, Play 5k, 10/02/11 00:26:57 (PR)

    Marine Corps Marathon 10k, 10/30/11 01:05:38 (PR)

    Baltimore Half Marathon, 10/15/11, 02:24:15 (PR)


  • MouseRN Pro 135 posts since
    Feb 15, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Oct 7, 2011 2:39 PM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    I don't have any hints about winter running, but as far as lights I have to share about Knuckle Lights (http://www.knucklelights.com). My husband and I just got ours this week and used them for the first time on Tuesday. They are great!! Clearly lights up your path with a nice wide beam vs the single spot with most headlamps. Just slip them over your fingers and adjust the strap, turn them on and forget about them. The only thing that might be bothersome is if you carry a water bottle using a palm strap...a little difficult to do with the Knuckle Light. Take a look at the page, really they are great!

  • cbirt Rookie 1 posts since
    May 25, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Oct 8, 2011 7:52 AM (in response to protometal)
    Dealing with fall / winter

    If possible, run during your lunch break at work = warmer temperatures and daylight.

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