Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter Running Tips from a Newbie

If you've read this blog for-oh-one post, you know that I am a pretty new runner. I recently celebrated my one year anniversary of running, and do not consider myself any type of expert at. all. That said, people often wonder how I can get myself out and running in Wisconsin in the winter. Honestly, last year we had hardly any snow at all and the temps were pretty moderate. A good year to start running. This year has been quite different in the precipitation department. We have had plenty of snow already (of course, because we bought our first house and I now have to shovel!), but the temps still have not been as low as they are known to get in this area. The coldest I have run outside is 10 degrees. 

Here's how I prepare for a winter run. . . 

First I check the temp. If it is really cold-remember, this is Wisconsin I'm talking about so when I say "really cold" I mean in the teens or lower-I layer two Under Armour Cold Gear Turtlenecks. It takes about a half mile before I feel them kick in, but those things W.O.R.K. Love them. I have gotten a cheaper version at Target and it's ok, but not up to the intensity of the UA gear. I add my UA winter vest on top of that not only to add another layer (layers are the key to warmth, as every article seems to repeat), but it's also white (I run very early, so it's still extremely dark out) and has pockets for my phone (with a run tracking ap) and iPod. I also have a running beanie, but it's too short to get all of my ears covered so I add an ear band overlapping the beanie. Gloves too, of course but I usually end up taking those off after a couple of miles. 
Under Armour Cold Gear Mock Turtleneck
For my lower body, I start with UA Cold Gear Compression Tights. I wasn't sure about the compression part when I was shopping online for warm tights so I sought advise from friends on Facebook. One of them told me the benefits of compression are less fatigue while running and a faster recovery time for muscles after a run. I was sold. I put a pair of yoga or exercise pants over my tights-I've lost a lot of weight, but not enough to be seen in public in TIGHTS! I tend to wear two pairs of socks, a regular pair and a thicker pair for more warmth. 
UA Cold Gear Compression Tights
Recently a friend from high school posted on her Facebook account that she was thankful to her husband for getting her a pair of Yak Trax, as she had just had her best winter run yet. I was intrigued, as my neighbors do not seem to value a shoveled sidewalk as much as I do, so I looked into them. They are pretty expensive on their site, so I checked them out on Amazon too and found a pair for half the price, new. I got home from a run, took a shower, and the doorbell rang with my Yak Trax delivery. Of course. It just happened to snow that night, though, so I tried them the next day. I didn't slip at all, my whole two mile run. Crazy! I wasn't totally sold, though, so today I did a similar course without the Yak Trax. I ran so much slower, and was slipping all over the place. I couldn't wait to get home! Needless to say, Yak Trax are now a semi-permanent part of my running gear!
Yak Trax
Not to say that Yak Trax are the be all and end all of winter traction. I was reading my Runner's World yesterday and saw an add for Salomon shoes. Those things look like they have great traction built right in. I'm on a pretty small budget, so I don't get to go out and try all the great gear that I'd love to have. That's ok, I make it work with what I do have. The important part is to stop making excuses and just get out there.

Salomon Mountain Trail Running Shoe

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