My LDFs and I are headed to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Marathon on March 20. I am very excited to have the group together (there are 8 of us going- three of us for the marathon, the rest for the half). It’s not often we can all commit to the same race because of crazy work and kid schedules. Exotic locations were considered, but slowly eliminated and we came to agreement on Virginia Beach. It’s no Big Sir or San Francisco, but hey we can all wear green and drink Yuengling (the sponsor) after the race—when in Rome…
The weather this winter has been a real test of this commitment. Doing a 20 mile run in 15 degrees (wind chill says -3), because that’s what the training schedule dictates, just kind of sucks. So you go in two pairs of tights, 3 shirts, 2 gloves, neck scarf, hat and if you happen to have them in your running cubby (which I did—yeah), Hotties for your toes and hands. We ran the Icicle 10 Miler Race for a change of pace that had icy roads, and turned out to be mostly uphill– oh, come on! Today was a balmy 26 at the start of an 18 mile long run. The roads are crazy because sidewalks have disappeared under mountains of snow. Cars are coming too close for comfort and drivers are less than enthused about our zealous outing on the road. Thanks to Yaktrax, the warm sunshine breaking through, and the distracting stories of LDFs, we made it through. But man, it’s tough out there. Whatever doubt I had about my commitment after a less than successful running year is slowing disappearing. Because frankly, if this is a test, we are passing. Take that Mother Nature!
So here are some of the training rituals/tips that are getting me through this weather:
1. Being flexible during the week, but staying true to my long run. I have had to move runs around because of snow storms. I check Weather.com daily to re-assess what can be done. Long runs are the exception. Those are obligatory and must be looked at differently. It’s more about coming up with ways to survive the long run rather then re-schedule it. We do, however, start later and slow down (icy roads are easier to navigate in daylight and at a slower pace).
2. Yaktrax! I simply would not be able to run in all this snow and ice without them. They provide sure footing and traction.
3. Layers. 15 degrees requires more layers that 26. Sometimes it’s hard to know and I have to strip down mid-run, but I hate being cold. My 15 year-old son gave me an pair of Asics arm warmers for Christmas and I wear them over my base layer and under my jacket. They provide arm warmth without an extra layer on the chest, which is great when I start warming up. Here is a recent Runner’s World winter running tips breakdown…this is helpful:
30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, says Arribas, “Stay inside.”
4. Coconut Water–my newest obsession. I am not as thirsty in the winter so a bottle of Coconut Water is providing noticeably better hydration. I just tried Zico coconut water with pomagranate mid long run today and really liked it.
5. Pre-run grease up: Full facial sunscreen and lip balm before EVERY run on my face. This seems to protect my skin and acts like a barrier to the cold… I use Neutrogena Age Shield FACE spf 70 and peppermint Chapstick. Also, don’t forget to Body Glide up on all the right places or you will suffer with all those layers on the long runs.
6. A really warm hat that covers my ears and a neck scarf. I have a Nike fleece hat that is so awesome because it covers my ears and provides lightweight warmth.
7. Strip! I have to strip out of my clothes as soon as the run is over! I have an old pair of warm sweats that I transfer into if I am away from home for the ride back or if I have to get the kids going at home before a shower. And there just isn’t anything like a cup of strong, hot coffee after a cold run…heaven.
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