Thursday, November 13, 2014

THE SEASON'S UPON US

We've been fortunate so far.

The past few weeks have been mild, for northeast standards, but that's about to change.

For us, and in many parts of the country, the long cold weather season is about to set it. Temperatures around here are going to drop into the 30s, and the first dusting of snow could appear as early as this evening.

Except for unyielding ice, which is perhaps the runner's most formidable enemy, it really is possible to conquer any winter weather condition that is thrown at us. I'm not saying it's always pleasant or fun, but it IS possible if you're properly prepared.

The biggest mistake many runners make during the cold-weather months is to overdress. Running turns our bodies into furnaces, producing enormous amounts of heat. Heat equals sweat, sweat is water, and water has a cooling effect. Not what we want when it's cold outside.

By sure to wear a moisture-wicking material for your base layer. I like Under Armour.

I have always worn a cotton t-shirt for my next layer, which absorbs the moisture emitted from the base layer.

A nylon vest or windbreaker is next. Top off with a hat and gloves, and that's it. I've never worn more, even when wind chills are in the minus 20 range. Gob some petroleum jelly on your face, or wear a balaclava. Who cares what we look like? Winter running is all about function, not fashion.

On blustery days, select an out and back course, running into the wind on the way out. You don't want to produce sweat and then get blasted by a chilling wind for several miles.

Realize that your winter running times may be slower, enjoy the snowy scenery, and keep safety as your main concern. Make sure you're visible, and when you run past someone shoveling snow and they say, "You should be doing this," reply with, "Been there, done that."

In both books, 'Personal Best,' and 'Running Shorts,' I write about seasonal running.

Check them out at: www.muldowneyrunning.com

Stay safe and enjoy the winter season...as much as you can!