Tips from Colorado Springs runners for training in the winter | Way of life
When winter comes, runners may not want to leave home. Gone are the simple days of putting on shorts and a t-shirt and heading for the door. Now is the time to check the weather and prepare for the worst.
This sparks frequent conversation at running stores like RNK Running and Walking, with locations in Parker and Castle Rock.
“Those first one or two days of bad weather comes and it’s like, ‘Oh shit.’ We have to figure out the layers and what to wear,” said store co-owner Trent Briney. “But you have to figure out how to embrace it.”
Or, as some of his clients do, you can take a break from running in favor of indoor, more comfortable exercise.
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But for runners who want to stay on track, Briney, along with other Colorado Springs-area runners, offered some tips for braving the elements.
Run with a buddy
The coming months call for conditions that could be very dark, cold and windy. What could make things worse? Run alone in these conditions. Briney says winter is the perfect time to find a running buddy for responsibility. It might be tempting to forego a solo run, but are you really going to bail out a friend waiting for you at the trailhead? Probably not a good idea, if you want to keep your friends. It also speeds up the miles. “You don’t have to think about it that much,” Briney said. “You just show up and all of a sudden you’re exercising.”
“Head, Heart and Hands”
When temperatures are low, Briney says, “layering is an obvious solution.” But it’s not always obvious how much to wear.
To determine his running gear, Josh Rogerson, who works at Colorado Running Co. in Colorado Springs, follows a temperature rule.
“Dress for 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature on the slopes,” Rogerson said. “If it’s 40 degrees, I’ll usually wear what I would wear 60 degrees.”
First, ask yourself if you are naturally hot or cold during your daily activities. This will help you determine if you will tend to be hot or cold while running and you can dress accordingly, for example choosing between a thicker or thinner jacket and fleece lined or unlined tights. When in doubt, Briney says to remember this: “Head, heart and hands.”
“If you keep these three things warm, you will be healthy and warm,” he said.
Start your run wearing a hat and mittens, which Briney recommends over gloves. you can always remove these items if you are warming up.
There are also your feet. To keep them warm, wear woolen socks. To avoid slipping in snow or ice, consider a traction product you can put on your running shoes like Yaktrak’s icetrekkers.
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The Colorado Running Co. also offers a free option. If you bring an old pair of running shoes into the store, an employee will place sheet metal screws in the bottom to give you traction in icy conditions.
Outsmart the wind
In Colorado Springs, a runner’s worst nightmare isn’t snow or low temperatures.
“It’s one of the few places where, yes, it snows in the winter, but it’s rarely that cold,” said Joseph Dellinger, who travels up to 25 miles a day for his job as a dog trainer. “By far the biggest challenge I’ve faced here running in the cold is the wind.”
He calls the wind “easily the most frustrating and tiring weather condition”. And it can get dangerous.
“While it’s good that we have such low humidity here in Colorado, make no mistake about it,” he said. “With enough wind chill and cold temperatures, frostbite can still cause damage in as little as 15 minutes.”
With that in mind, Briney said to prepare for windy runs with a windproof jacket and by planning a route with tree cover. Another tip: start your run facing into the wind and finish it behind your back, so you don’t freeze from the breeze after you’ve already sweated.
All the gear sold at your local running store might not be enough to leave a warm bed for the cold outside.
This is where positive self-talk comes in just as handy as a warm jacket.
To motivate himself, Dellinger says to himself: “It’s not forever, you just have to get out of it. Races don’t last; get ready and do it!
Motivation can be hard to come by, said Colorado Springs-based runner Tatum Russo.
“It’s hard to want, because sometimes you unfortunately never warm up,” she said. “At least that’s very true for me.”
However, if you want to be a better, stronger runner, it requires “riding the miles in the off-season and in the coldest winter months,” she said.
“You don’t need to be running outside in the cold every day, and there’s no shame in hitting a treadmill if you have access to one, but sticking to training during the winter season. base will absolutely pay off during the racing season,” added Russo. “And you will be happy to be there.”
Anticipating warmer days helps, Briney said. He suggests signing up for a race in February or March so you have something to train with.
For more instant gratification, he has another trick. Start and end your run at a cafe.
Even if you run cold, a hot cup of coffee awaits you at the finish line.