So, I promise I'll stop announcing this as soon as the novelty wears off, but, ahem, now that I've signed up for my first half marathon (yay!) in April...I'm faced with the challenge of getting the proper training in during the winter.
I am pretty much ok with running in the cold and even some snow but, living in the Midwest, there may be times when it's really not feasible to run outside...especially in minimalist shoes.
Am I confined to the treadmill? Does anyone have any clever ideas about running/cross-training/ general theory and practice that they've employed to get them through the winter months?
The good news is that because the race is in April, I'll have a few good weeks pre=event to get used to running outside again beforehand but I don't want to totally derail my progress between now and then as we move into the dark winter months.
I'm a midwesterner too. I'm not much into cross training, but alot of people do and enjoy the change or "break" from running. It can be good to shake things up a bit and add variety. My limits?? I run outside unless the temp dips down under 19 degrees (why 19 I dunno, just where i say "rediculous!!"), or if it is sleeting, raining w/really cold temps, or icy ground. I can't hardly stand the "deadmill" so I avoid it unless I have to. Today happended to be a "deadmill" day.
I'm from Quebec city, and let me reassure you: running in winter is NEVER impossible! The cold and the snow can make your training more difficult, but with a bit of creativity, you're not going to let them stop you.
To fight the cold, try using several layers of clothing. As you get warmer, from effort, take off as many layers as you need. I use 100% wool or hemp fabric for my first layer because they stay warm even when wet.
Some people have problems with the sting of cold air in their lungs, and that's a really good reason to stay inside. My strategy against that is to get used to cold air as soon as winter kicks in. Every time it's cold out there, make sure you can get at least a few minutes of running. The colder the better! At some point mercury below -15 won't even scare you.
On the other hand, snow is more of an opportunity to diversify your training and to work on your technique than a problem. Ditch the minimalist shoes. The snow will provide cushioning anyway. When it's shallow (less that knee-high) run with normal running shoes. Adapt your technique: use more careful, higher steps to avoid snow entering your shoes or slipping on ice. Your speed will naturally decrease, but you condition will definitely improve. Sometimes, you can track back your steps to adjust minor technical defaults (feet alignment, weight balance, etc).
If you get snow higher than knee level, it's time to put on good winter sports boots and snow pants and to go trekking - outside the beaten path. Just walking in deep snow is extremely good for the cardio and leg strength, and they spare your joints.
Think of hard conditions as teachers!
Here in the north, we suffer from lack of sunlight in winter. Cold and sunny mornings, with the sun reflecting on fresh snow, are such a boon.
First, you get used to winter running, then fatally, you start liking it! (...then non-runners think you lost your mind!)
Thanks! You make it sound like way more fun than I was anticipating. (c: I've been taking advantage of the bright, sunny, cooold days to just go run anyway and so far, it's actually pleasant once you get started. (c:
It's going to get down to 17 tonight...we'll see how tomorrow goes!
Good luck on your half! I live in Michigan so we too get our fair share of snow. I have always just run through the snow. Granted it has been in "regular" running shoes but I have never had too many problems except for big snowfalls of say 12-18". Then I just slow down (no choice) and slog through.
This year will be the first in VFFs but this year for the first time, I am actually looking forward to running in the snow. While I have concerns about my feet getting cold I am going to use the snow as an added form of resistance/hill type of training. I may have to shorten runs when it comes to really deep snows but think that in the end I will end up stronger and faster.
The only tip I would have is to stay warm and use the snow/ice to work on general form and foot strike.
I on the other hand miss the seasons...Our shops are full of winter fashion but the coldest it has been so far is 24 degrees celsius at night. Humidity always above 80%. It is the rainy 'season' though and while most people stay indoors I find a tropical downpour to be incredibly refreshing.