This is the second part in my 5 part series of why there should be NO excuses to not run. See my first post HERE – all about people who don’t run because they are too busy. Yeah, right.
The second installment of this fascinating series focuses on those types who say they can’t run because it is too hot, cold, windy, etc. Living in Colorado, I run in all kinds of weather. All year ‘round. In fact, today it is 35 degrees and snowing. The perfect day for a wet and moist run (who else loves the word “moist” ? – raise your hand).
Do not be jealous of my jowls. You will have them one day too. I promise.
I got rid of my gym membership (too poor), which means no treadmill. Consequently, I actually did 100% of my training outside this year (well, 3x when it was super icy I paid an entry fee to the rec center to use the ‘mill). I’m not going to lie. I don’t always love to run outside when it’s colder than a witch’s tit, or windier than a sack full of farts or hotter than Hades. But, here’s why I do it:
Training in adverse conditions makes you stronger. Wind provides resistance training. Hot gives you a chance to practice hydrating and slowing your pace so your exertion stays even. Cold, well cold just gives you icicle butt and stops your circulation (if you have Reynauds like me). Not much good about that except that it makes you tougher and you feel like a bad ass.
10 degrees. Snow. 15 miles.
Ice, however – well, that is a different story. Don’t do it. Nothing can help you on ice, not even Yak Trax. It’s not worth the risk.
Bottom line is: If you are someone who says they can’t run because of the weather, that’s a just another excuse to avoid getting out there. Sometimes, on days like today when it is pouring snow, I don’t see any other runners out there. I like to fantasize that the people in their cars think I’m cool for going out in those conditions. In actuality I’m sure that 1) they don’t care or 2) they just think I’m crazy and stupid.
But, the point is that I am proud of myself for doing it. Why? Because it takes a lot of discipline go get out there when it’s not a calm day with perfect temps. Fair weather running is lovely, but it’s also for pussies (can I get a bumper sticker that says that?)
Tips for Running in Shitty Weather:
Wind (the worst of all running weather evils, IMHO):
- Try to lean into the wind, but keep your body relaxed.
- If you are doing an out and back, run into the wind on your way out and with the wind at your back on the way home. This will hopefully give you a negative split for the run and will teach you to run with quick turnover on tired legs.
- Surrender. Wind will slow you down if you have a headwind. Accept that fact and trudge forward. Don’t judge yourself for that. Lastly, don’t attempt tempo or speed work in the wind. You’ll just get frustrated.
- Wear sunglasses. On windy days, dust blows around and may cause your eyes to sting or water. Wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from debris.
- Pay attention to the temperature. If it’s cold, note the wind chill and dress for that. In the heat, run out with the wind at your back and home with a headwind to cool you off.
- First and foremost, dress appropriately, but not so that you will be too hot. If the snow is really coming down with some wind, be sure to cover your face.
- Wear trail running shoes or Yak Trax for good traction.
- As is the case with running in the wind, your pace while running in snow will be slower. Go with it.
- Wear sunglasses to cut down on the glare and to keep flakes out of your eyes and your eyeballs from freezing.
- Expect your muscles to be sore. When running in snow you use different muscles because you have to stabilize yourself.
- Avoid high intensity workouts in the heat of the day. Duh.
- Accept that your pace will be slower. Ideal running temperatures range from 50º-55º. For every five degrees above that, your performance can degrade 2%. This means that if you are running in 75º heat, your pace could slow up to 10%! Humidity might make it even worse. Don’t expect you can or will perform the same in the heat (from a study done at Team Oregon).
- Wear the least amount of clothing possible (that won’t get you arrested)
- Try to pick a shady route.
- Drink often and early. Try to take in at least 6 ounces of liquid (not including Bud Light) for every 15 minutes of running. Plan your routes where you can replenish your water, or hide it along the way.
- Take salt tabs if you will be out there for awhile. I like Salt Stick.
- Try to go early morning or later evening.
- Avoid excess protein intake before and during the run. Protein metabolism produces extra heat (source).
Do you run in all kinds of weather?
Do you use weather as an excuse to not run?
What’s the worst weather related running disaster you’ve had? Probably this time when the weather changed suddenly and drastically and we were not prepared.