Anyway, I'm not really a fan of the cold weather. I mean, I don't hate it. I especially don't "Michael hate it" ... the woman is violent toward cold weather. She once literally ran up to a snowman, torched him with a flame-thrower, screaming, "Die you cold-hearted abominable blanco diablo!!!" None of that is embellish. My wife speaks some Spanish. But I've learned over the years that a little snow on the ground can actually be a good training tool. Here are a few things that I've learned from Winter running ...
|Gratuitous winter runner photo|
2. A little slippage is good for the hamstrings and stabilizing muscles ... Now of course I'm not talking about slipping and sliding around to where I hurt myself ... duh. I of course try to use extreme caution when running on snowy conditions ... but do I really have to spell that out? If so, well then also take note ... don't ever eat chalk. I try to wear my YakTrax when I'm on slippery conditions, but when I run in the snow, there will inevitably be a little slipping. I've found that it forces me to use a few extra stabilizing muscles on the landing. Also, it really prevents me from over-striding and getting the landing foot too far out in front. And I've especially noticed that my back push-off foot will also sometimes slip out from under me a little. This forces the hamstring to control the motion a little more, and can also cause it to pass a little further through it's zone than normal. I ran 18 miles this past Saturday on some pretty slippery conditions, and my hamstrings were pretty much the only thing sore when I was done. So I considered it a good strengthening run.
|From Matt Johnson at Runner Academy|
Matt Johnson, of Runner Academy, actually developed this chart to show just how much we slow at various dropping temps. The same is also true as the temperature climbs over 70 degrees in the Summer. Ah ... Summer. For me, slowing in the winter is sometimes tough to deal with psychologically. But understanding that there is a physiological reason helps me get through it. I've found that a good rule of thumb is that my pace is going to increase about 15 seconds per mile when I'm running at 30 degrees or below, which is similar to what Matt's chart indicates.
4. Water freezes ... I discovered this scientific truth when I was a beginning runner. Yes, I literally didn't understand the properties of water freezing at 32 degrees Fahrenheit until then. A couple of times on long runs, if the temperature was cold enough, it froze my H2O before I could get back to it ... which left me mid-run without hydration. I've learned it's a good idea to avoid that. So now, I've just learned to run much faster and get there before my water freezes. Kidding. Actually there are a ton of insulated hydration packs on the market now that do a decent job of keeping your water in liquid form. If you're a bottle hider like me (going out pre-run to plant water in unsuspecting bushes and behind signs), I've found that hiding the bottle closer to the ground, out of the wind, will keep it fluid longer than if I hide it up high in a tree ... which I do at times. The ground is just much warmer.
|Another photo of a snow run last year - one of my favorite running pics, YES it was really snowing|
C'mon, I'm an artist - I wouldn't Photoshop snow flakes ... it was snowing those really really big flakes ... so cool
So anyway, Kansas City is getting about 12" of powder as I write this. So if I'm going to do any marathon training outside in the near future, it's gonna be in the snow. YIPPEE!!!! But if I look at it as a good training exercise, hopefully it will make it that much more bearable. Have a great week!
... be great today!