Oh, winter. As if the ice and snow weren’t obstacles enough, winter weather is hard on your skin, especially if you’re running outside. Even inside, the air is drier and causing all sorts of problems.
You might be facing peeling, itchy skin — especially on your face, which is usually exposed to the elements. Your sinuses may be struggling, leading to bloody noses (I had three in one day recently) and sinus headaches. Or, your eyes might be so scratchy that your contacts are taking their own vacation.
Short of moving to the Caribbean for the winter (although I’m not ruling it out), there are easy strategies you can employ.
For many of us, the holiday season coincides with our off-season, when we enter post-race maintenance mode, giving our bodies and minds a much-needed break from hard training. While Santa Claus is checking his list and tuning up his sleigh, the rest of us find ourselves mired in extra concerts, party invitations, and frankly, a lot of extra work: shopping, wrapping, baking, planning. A more flexible and laid-back approach to running can be a great match for all the activity.
But for some – here at Salty Running that includes Sesame and Angelica – have decided on January or February races, so we find ourselves in the thick of training during the holiday season, and squeezing the marathon miles in is tough!
There is a range of approaches to holiday disruptions. Is it better to run long on Saturday morning and get it out of the way? Two weeks ago, I tried that and was a zombie at the Saturday night PTA-mom party. Running long on Sunday means shutting down Saturday night festivities on the early side and probably passing on the cocktails. Finding time for 15 miles the weekend before Christmas was like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle with too many pieces – one event or another kept slipping out of the picture. I’m crossing my fingers about the weather because there’s no room on the agenda for a blizzard!
We want to hear from you! How do you handle holiday disruptions to training schedules? Is your off-season meshing with your holiday season? Or are concerts, cocktails and cooking-baking throwing you off-kilter?
How do you balance training and celebrating this time of year?
It’s 45°F outside and I’m ready to run, dressed in shorts, a t-shirt, and … mittens? I can happily run into the mid-30s in shorts, but my hands need coverage if it’s cooler than 55°. And regardless of what I do, my fingers will become white and immobile about 15 minutes after every chilly run.
On any mid-January evening, Bertha sets down her hot cocoa, remembering she has a spring race to train for. She opens her phone to check the week’s forecast and cringes. Eighteen miles in THAT?!
In past years, my spring race training has found me drop-kicking Bertha and angrily pounding out a run on the treadmill. Oh I’ve tried all of the Treadmill Tips of the Week and I’ve stockpiled shows and movies and podcasts to keep me sane. I’ve done ladder workouts and “speed play” and have written motivational messages on a chalkboard by my ‘mill. I’ve survived, but I’ve rarely enjoyed it. I pounded out the miles and I grimaced every time I looked at the weather forecast.
This year has been a little different though; Bertha has been pretty quiet about the frigid forecasts allowing me to embrace the weather I once dreaded. And I am having a blast. How did this giant change of heart come to be?
I’m modifying Hanson’s again, adding mileage to my easy days; the goal is to top out in the 60-65mpw range this time, whereas last year I topped out just over 50mpw for both my spring and fall marathons. Like last time, I’m planning to build up to an 18 miler for my longest run instead of a 16. I still can’t shake the feeling that 16 is not enough. Hell, 18 seems like not enough!
This week I learned lots of things: Read more >>
Though the regular race season might be winding down for those of us blessed enough to live in colder regions of the US (Florida, we are jealous) that doesn’t mean you can’t get in a few more before the jam-packed holiday madness begins. In fact, what better way to head into this busy time of year than with a holiday-themed race?
What’s that? Themed races aren’t your thing? That’s all about to change. Here are the top 5 reasons even the most hard-core competitive runner should sign up for a holiday race. Read more >>
Boy oh boy, at 40º Fahrenheit, yesterday was just balmy here in the Big Apple! So when it was time for me to hit the road, naturally I took off my pants without hesitation. Shorts time!
I don’t think about it too much usually, but last week the Salty bloggers were chatting about our legs, so when I saw the forecast I made sure to bust out a fresh razor and give my gams a quick once-over. But then as I was cruising down 5th Avenue in the afternoon I started thinking about how silly it was. I mean first of all, who’s looking? But more than that, why do I even care? It’s February, it’s been so disgustingly cold that shorts haven’t been much of an option. In fact, leaving the house without tights has been unthinkable most days. Frankly if I happened to check out some chick’s legs and notice she was sporting a fur coat on her calves I’d be a little jealous at how warm she must be.
So I gotta ask you gals: do you bother keeping your legs shaven in the cold months? What are we doing this for!?
As always, we’ll take your answers in the comments!
Oh baby, it’s cold outside. Like, realllly cold outside. We are talking snot icicles. Snowy eyelash mascara. 5 layers of running clothes and a sexy gaiter face mask. Yea, it’s winter in the northeast!
As of this writing it was 6 degrees with about 4 inches blanketing the streets of Columbus, Ohio. Icy patches made my 3 miler a bit treacherous. In a few days another clipper is supposed to hit with more snow, lows below 0 with a wind chill factor into the negatives. Greeeeat! To keep up with winter training, I’ve been running very early in the morning before my husband leaves for work and while my 8-month old baby is still sleeping. On the ‘warmer’ weekend days when the mercury rises to 35 degrees, I’ve been able to bundle the babe and take him along with me in the running stroller later in the afternoon.
So recently, when Salty Reader Carol posed a question to other running moms, I felt like I definitely had some insight to share! Here’s Carol’s question:
I want to know how you guys with small kids tell if it is too cold to run outside with them in the stroller, and how you keep them warm when they just want to kick off the blanket!?
It was another tough week of winter training here in Alaska, but I’m happy to report that Old Man Winter got chicked yet again. Marathon training is difficult enough without the cold and snowy conditions. Add those elements in, and it can make every mile feel like a battle. No such thing as “easy” miles in sub-zero temps. So you can imagine how satisfying it is to make it through a winter week and log 50 miles for the first time in almost a year!
Monday- 7.2 miles (9:06 avg) – A very cold -3 degrees, but a great run with my friend Jen. I look forward to Mondays, even when it’s -3 because I know I will forget about how cold I am and just enjoy being out there with some great company. I felt nice and refreshed starting the week after a relaxing cut-back week last week.
Tuesday- 9 miles (8:17 avg) – 2 x [2 miles @ 7:53 0.5 miles @ 7:30, 2 minute recovery jog] . Warmed up two miles and then went into the 5 miles of tempo pace. This felt appropriately difficult, unlike some of the other MP “tempos” I’ve done recently to work back up to LT pace. I was TIRED when this was over, but it felt good to run a little harder. I’ll get that speed back in these legs if it’s the last thing I ever dooooooooo! :-) Followed it up that evening with 45 minutes of skate skiing with the kids.
Wednesday- 6 miles (9:04 avg) – Felt warm running in a balmy 19 degrees! Trail conditions weren’t too bad, so didn’t have to struggle as much with fresh snow or clear ice. Picked up the pace in the last half and averaged sub-9 (8:30 for last mile).
Thursday- Pilates & PT exercises (1 hour)
Friday- 17 miles (8:56 avg) – Tackled the hills, cold (18 degrees) and snow in this out and back. Haven’t run (up or down) in a while so this was a good challenge. Total elevation gain (and loss) of 810 feet. Was really tired by the end, but felt like this was appropriately tough and very good prep for a marathon.
Saturday- 4 miles (9:00 avg) – Was so tired after yesterday’s long run. Eeked this recovery run out on the treadmill. Went skate skiing later with my daughter, and an eagle family decided to show off for us toward the end. It was amazing to watch them–the pictures I snapped with my phone don’t do it justice.
Sunday- 7 miles (8:26 avg) – Ran at the track (1/10th of a mile) where my son had soccer training. This worked out well because I avoided the treadmill and the cold, and I had my daughter to keep me company (she would run with me every 3-4 laps or so). Pace felt easy, but still wound up in the mid-8s. Makes such a difference to be on flat surface (no snow) and not to be battle low temps!
Total – 50.2 miles! BAM. Take that, Old Man Winter! 1 hour of Pilates, 1 hour of PT exercises, 1.5 hours of skate skiing.
Ten more weeks to Boston! This past week was a cut-back week, which I’m learning to greatly appreciate as the training cycle progresses. Even with very low mileage, this week brought some challenges. Namely, gale force winds and “feels like” -10 temps. I also continued with physical therapy and received some good insight into some of my chronic trouble spots. I feel like I’m finally getting a handle on the root causes and making some headway toward long-term injury-free running.
Monday- Supposed to run 5 miles easy, but I skipped the run and went downhill skiing instead. Survived without any broken bones, for the win!
Tuesday- 5 miles (9:07 avg) – A whopping zero degrees this morning but my friend Jen was up for going with me, so I headed outdoors. It was a really nice run. The company helps so much, takes my mind off of how cold I am! Went in for PT later that day and got my butt handed to me by the new glute/ hip strengthening exercises.
Wednesday- 7 miles (9:13 avg) – Another slow, cold outdoor run. Followed it up with my PT exercises.
Thursday- off. Just did PT exercises and stretching.
Friday- 10 miles (8:57 avg) – I thought maybe the wind wouldn’t be so bad since it had “warmed up” to 18 degrees. Trail conditions were pretty decent–nice and packed and not too many ruts. With the wind at my back 8:30 pace felt like a breeze! Then I turned around…. The headwind (40 mph gusts) was so bad that oversized trash cans were blowing down the middle of the road. At one point I couldn’t see because the drifting snow and dirt got in my eyes. It was so mentally tough, although physically I felt pretty strong. At one point the wind blew so hard I felt like I was jogging in place against it. It made me so mad! After wind and cold like that, aint no hill at mile 20 gonna break my heart.
Sunday- 5 miles (8:39 avg) – Ran this on the treadmill early. Used a metronome app to time my cadence and it seems I comfortably fall around 175. That’s within the range of what my PT told me to shoot for. Also worked on keeping my arms closer in and moving them forward vs. elbows out. Nice easy run and definitely felt refreshed after this cutback week.
Total – 27 miles
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of running in the cold. I really can’t tolerate much of it. I can maybe handle one or two runs a week in sub-freezing temperatures before I scream for mercy. Yet here I am training in the midwest for a spring marathon. I’m running Pittsburgh in about four months. Last year was the winter that made us question everything we believe in as Northerners (polar vortex, anyone?). Despite our historically snowy and cold winters here in Cleveland, I picked a spring race with a booming American development program: I don’t want to just finish it, I want to crush it and run significantly under my current PR of 2:58:54. The Pittsburgh Marathon barely comes when the snow has melted, and that doesn’t leave winter-wusses like me much outdoor time in final weeks leading up to the race. That means making progress as a runner while training mostly on the treadmill for several months.
So here I am wondering whether one can run a fast marathon on the roads off of almost nothing but treadmill training?
A few weeks ago, I met Salty and her friends to go running in the park in the snow. I can’t believe I got talked into running in the snow, but I’m glad I did. Anyway, it made me think about some of the more unusual gear I use during the winter. I’m not talking about jackets, hats, yaktrax or even treadmills. I don’t even know what to call this list. I guess it is just a list of miscellaneous stuff you should own for winter that you haven’t thought of. Actually, some of this stuff you should own year-round. Read more >>
Winter is not technically here, but for most of us it sure feels like it! Here in Ohio it was in the 60’s on Tuesday and now we’re down to 20’s and 30’s. Brrrrr! That means it’s time to get into winter training mode. And when I say winter training mode, I’m not just talking about breaking out the mittens and the tights. There’s so much more that goes into winter training.
On any given wintery day, do you run outside? Or do you run on the treadmill, indoor track or cross train? How do you keep from losing your mind when it’s always cold and slippery and dark or inside and a little soul-sucking? Let’s discuss our options. Read more >>
If you’re a runner and you live in the upper two-thirds of the country, you love spring. After weeks of white-knuckling it through your training runs in the most horrid weather around, the novelty of posting that icicle-covered #runnerselfie has long since worn off.
On top of that, you’re so sick of the treadmill you can’t even come up with a new topic for a Salty Running Treadmill Tip of the Week post (oh wait, that’s just me). By the time spring rolls around we’re all starting to feel a little Jack Torrance-ish, if you know what I mean – CRAZY!
But never fear! Here at Salty Running, we’ve noticed some signs that spring is finally here to save us from the Polar Vortex circle of heck that was this winter. Sure, some people (all my friends on Facebook) will complain that this winter is never going to end, but really there are 5 distinct signs that spring is here. And here they are! Read more >>
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