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Secrets to Winter Running Unlocked

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
January 11th 2023

There’s no doubt that winter running can be some of the most difficult months of training, especially if you have a big race coming up in April or May and you have t... More

Hello fellow runners, I'm your host, Finn Melanson and this is the run to the top podcast podcast dedicated to making you a better runner. With each and every episode we are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connect dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner in every budget. There's no doubt that winter running can be some of the most difficult months of training, especially if you have a big race coming up in April or may and you have to be focused on getting in the work motivation fades when every run requires dressing in 10 lb of gear and braving. The elements are constantly fretting about how to adapt yet another workout for the ice and for the snow. That's why in today's podcast round up, we are going to help teach you everything we've learned over the past 10 years about training in winter conditions and No, these are not just another round of quote where layers types of tips, Although we do recommend this instead, we're gonna hear from some experts on exactly how to adapt your workouts.

Stay motivated and make sure your spring race is your best. Yet whatever mother nature throws at you this weekend, finding the right supplements at the right dosage is specifically for your needs isn't easy. That's why we love L. O. Health. L. O. Uses a combination of at home blood biomarker testing apple health data and dietician support to determine exactly the right supplements. Just for you, I'll tell you more about how it works and how you can get a free biomarker test. Later in this episode, we are going to break up this round up into three parts how and why to modify your training, the type of gear you may need and then how to adapt winter training for a potentially warm spring race to get started.

Let's hear from coach Rory on the physiological effects of cold weather running. So you can understand how it affects your performance, effort and work out times. Have you ever heard someone say that your lungs will freeze if you run outside in the winter? Well, it's time to bust that myth. Despite the discomfort you may feel. Research proves that running in the cold isn't dangerous to your lungs. Even in the most severe arctic climates. That burning sensation you feel isn't actually from cold air, but from drier. When you breathe in your nasal cavity and windpipe instantly work to warm up the air to your body's temperature. This heat exchange happens so quickly that cold air never actually reaches your lungs. In fact, running in the coldest significantly easier on your body than running in the heat. There's a reason nearly all distance records occur in cool temps, usually around 40 to 50 F, when most international marathons are scheduled As often is the case with environmental factors. The military has taken a keen interest and the physiology of exercising in cold weather. This is the topic of a 1991 review by Thomas doubt at the Naval Medical Research Institute in this article, doubtless, a number of changes that affect the body during exercise and low temperatures.

First, you rely on carbohydrates and less on fats for energy. Next, your lactate production is higher for given intensity, indicating that you're going deeper into oxygen debt to produce the necessary energy to maintain a given pace. Now that you better understand some of the specific physiological challenges posed by winter running, let's take a dive into how to adapt your training First. Let's hear from coach Jeff, who grew up in Maine and did the majority of his professional running career in michigan after thousands of miles racked up in winter conditions, he's got some great tips for us. Now, the next question I get a lot is kind of like where to run, uh, you know, if it snows and the best options are gonna be universities, schools such as, you know, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools and municipal buildings. Now, universities are, are really good to run because they typically tend to have their own maintenance departments. So they're not relying on the city plows to get out and plow the streets a lot of times the maintenance workers live very close to university, so they clear things out pretty quickly.

So if you live next to a fairly large university, definitely check out running around some of the walking paths there. Um And even the roads they're gonna tend to get clear a little bit faster just because again they have their own maintenance department and also most universities are all walking path, so you don't have to deal with a lot of traffic, You have a lot of sidewalk and path options that aren't on the road, which can be fairly dangerous limits. Uh you know after a large storm and then high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, they get clear pretty quick because the city wants to get the schools open as soon as possible and they want to make it safe for students. So they tend to be the areas that get cleared off first, especially right around them, you know, because they want to keep kids and teachers safe, it's pretty simple. Um And then the municipal buildings, I'm always good, especially if you know where the plows are stored, I know when I lived in maine I knew exactly where the plows were housed. So the road that they were on was in Municipal Road and obviously that's just clear of traffic in general and then you know the plows are on that almost all day because they have to get to and from headquarters.

And so they tend to, you know they obviously plowed and salted pretty quickly. So that road was was always clear. So if you know where the building is, if you know where they store the plows check out trying to run on those roads can be a good option that that's gonna clear up pretty quickly in terms of, you know, on windy days, you know where do you want to run? You always want to run against the wind during the first half of your run and then you run one with the wind at your back on the second half of the run. Now, the reason is that when you run with the wind in the first half, yes, it's a little bit colder, but you're always gonna build up a sweat, even if it's cold, you're gonna probably end up sweating at some point, especially if you're going for more than an hour, more than 45 minutes. And then what happens is if if you have, if you're running with the wind in your face, on the way back, on the second half of your run, you're gonna have sweated a lot and then you're gonna be running back and you're gonna have to deal with the wind blowing against the sweat, which is gonna make you a lot colder. So it's not necessarily anything that's gonna like make a huge difference. But if you have the choice on the second half of your run, run with the wind at your back baseline is definitely a great option to put on any exposed part of your skin, especially your face if you're running and everything is covered up, you've got mittens, you got toes, you know, everything is covered up with your face.

Baseline is going to help prevent, uh, it's gonna keep your face a lot warmer. It's going to prevent any chapping from the wind and it's just a nice little way to go. It's also useful if you're racing in the winter, obviously racing the winter, you want to wear kind of as little clothing as possible for optimum performance. And it can really help if you're gonna wear, uh, you know, if you're gonna wear running shorts, you can put the Vaseline on your legs during the race, it's gonna keep them a lot warmer. So if you're gonna wear a T shirt or something because, you know, eventually you're gonna get warm, baseline helps a lot. Again, put it on your face, it's gonna keep you warm. In terms of running on the road. You have to actually, you always want to run against traffic. You want to be able to see what's coming at you in these conditions to assess what the driver is doing, what they're looking at. You know, determine whether they're gonna stop, whether they see you. You know, whether they've given you enough room on the side of the road to run and that way force comes to worst, you can dive into the snowbank and avoid getting hurt. You know, I've had a lot of seeing a lot of conditions where people are running with the cars that they're back and then the car doesn't give them enough room on the side, thinking that they can fit by or they just don't see them and they're not paying attention and it's easier to get clipped because, you know, the distance between the sidewalk and or the end of the edge of the road and the middle of the road is a little less because of the incoming snow.

And then remember that snow banks can get pretty high. So when you're coming up on corners, make sure that people can see you, make sure that uh you know, when you're coming around turns that the driver has a full view, uh it's easy to just kind of run across roads and crossroads and think, oh, well they can see me, they're going to stop and a lot of times drivers are gonna creep out more than they normally would because they can't see around the snowbank and might clip you as you kind of go by. So just be careful with that. Now, let's hear from Greg Kapila, an expert at winter running on how he adapts his running to ice and snow. Yeah, you need to be flexible and I don't necessarily mean doing your yoga so that you can um you can gracefully fall, although that can help um the number one thing, maybe the number one rule in all of winter running, I think is just having flexibility with what you're doing and understand that a lot of the times the conditions will dictate what you're gonna do and uh just on a greater level, I think the idea of understanding that, that getting out to do anything, even if it's jogging two or three miles is way better than nothing and it's still gonna set you up for feeling good and feeling like you didn't waste your time um and you'll be safe and and not have attempted to do something that maybe would set you back further in your training if you were to get injured.

Um So I'll start with ice. Ice is kind of the non starter, right? It's especially if you are looking to do some run hard or run a workout, that's where obviously there's more challenges in place. There are obviously like traction devices you can purchase too attached to your shoes. Um kind of the old school method is taking some screws and putting them like through an old pair of running shoes. So they have more attraction. Um I even personally, I'm a fan of trail shoes in the winter. Um So trail running shoes that you don't necessarily run on, you can certainly run on trails with them, but you can just use them as a normal winter running shoe because the terrain is much more varied and you definitely get a more aggressive tread that actually isn't maybe some aggressive trail shoes aren't very comfortable to run in uh on dry pavement, but they feel just fine running on icy and snow covered ground in the winter. So I do a lot of that is kind of my go to footwear.

Um, but again, nice. I think there's a bit of, if it has a little bit of give to it, if it's, you're in a conditions where there's a mixture of sort of snow and ice and kind of that crunchy stuff where you can probably have some traction as long as you're not trying to run too fast that I think is is doable and it's, you gain a feel for how to do that safely over time, but in days, like we're having here in Duluth today where we had some rain last night and into the evening and early morning and high winds and everything froze? Uh to me, it's just kind of a nonstarter or going out to run until you get some snow coverage or some melt or some salt on the ground. It's just not worth injury and I've injured myself severely slipping on ice before as I'm sure others have and it's, it's just not worth it. Um, that's probably when you're either better off taking an easy day or day off or hitting the treadmill. Okay, well you brought it up first, the dread mill. So, so, um, what do you have any tips for surviving the treadmill, I mean, so if it's icy out and you have, you know, your 400 m repeats or whatever your hard workout is, you're not going to be, be able to get the quick turnover, you're not gonna be able to get what you're looking for from that workout.

If you're on ice and snow, I mean it's just not gonna be the same kind of workout, so you hit the treadmill, so you have any tips if you spent a lot of time on the, on the treadmill, I suppose collectively over my years running collectively, I've had a decent amount of miles on treadmills. I try to avoid the treadmill at all costs. I don't own one. Um it's not, I'm just not a big fan of it. Um I much prefer being outside, but like you said, if, if you're, I'm also someone that I haven't had a major training block and build up for some time either and for those that are, especially for spring races, longer distance races, I think it's a great tool to ensure you can get those workouts in. Um in terms of surviving it. Again, I'm not the greatest, but I play a lot of mental games on the treadmill. Um I'm not a, I know a lot of people do, I'm not one that I don't typically listen to music or podcasts or anything when I'm running outside, um I almost always do on the treadmill, that's kind of my, it's one of my um just ways that I kind of take my focus off of the monotony of what I'm doing and and put it on that, I love podcasts actually while I'm running on the treadmill indoors.

Um and I think I see your point of the idea of using that as a way to get the workout in one of my tactics when I have, at times, I had to use a lot of treadmill running during a stretch, is trying to make the treadmill run almost, almost always making it a workout or a harder run. Um I always found myself way more capable of doing a temple run or a heart, like or something like that on a treadmill for, you know, so I was only on there for 30 or 45 minutes running hard and staying focused versus trying to run for 90 minutes on a treadmill, I just fall apart way too quickly. Greg touched on treadmill workouts a bit there, so to expand on that topic a bit more, let's hear from Antonio vega, an elite runner who won the US half marathon championships while doing all of his training on the treadmill for me. What I like to do is when I'm running a hard effort, you know, I'll go ahead and throw in a 3% incline on there, you know, where, where it simulates the hill, so it's like, okay, now I need to focus on driving my legs and and really keeping myself nice and relaxed as I'm going up the hill and you know, by doing something like that, you really develop this huge strength base that you wouldn't necessarily get from just running flat on the treadmill?

Um and so like I found by doing that, that kept me mentally focused, you know, not just of staying on the treadmill, but like kind of almost like a race kind of mentality where it's just like okay, you know, now it's getting harder, so now you need to relax and focus and once you get to that, you know, nice even level plane, you know, you kind of can relax again. So it almost simulates like a surgeon, a race kind of, that makes a lot of sense. I actually, I haven't really thought about that, that's a great strategy to combat that fact that you can get stale and just kind of locked into a pace and forget about it, where you're throwing in a surge, Everyone here and there, it's, it is kind of like a race when you have good spots and bad spots and or undulating terrain and that kind of thing you brought up to 3% you know, when you throw in some of the surge is do you ever um do you set your treadmill at any percent, like for any uh basically what I'm trying to say is a lot of the research that I've seen has shown that 1% on the on the treadmill incline is roughly equivalent to or rules out the fact that there's no wind resistance and that the ground is moving under you, you're not moving over it.

Um Have you, do you set it to 1% when you run? It depends the day struggling and and I feel like, you know, confidence wise, I just need to have a good workout. I'm gonna throw a negative incline on that, you know, so like downhill, so it's just like, okay, well, you know, Granted it's aided, but at least I'm doing the workout. So um you know, I do try to send at least like a.5% great on there usually, but but like I said, if I just need to have a day where it's just like okay, that went well, you know, I will do whatever it takes to stay on that damn machine sometimes. No, I mean that's another great strategy and I think a lot of people can learn from is that, you know, if you're having a bad day, you know, maybe instead of slowing the pace down or instead of doing something else you can just decline. Uh you know, lower the incline and now you're running the same pace and maybe it's a little bit easier, but you know, 0.5% 1% it's still still a hard effort, you're still running hard on the treadmill, like you like you kind of mentioned so yeah, um and obviously the question everybody wants to know like do you get bored when you run on the treadmill.

Yeah, that's, that's the, that's the hardest part is, you know, I've done as long as 26 miles on the treadmill, and it's just like, when you're on there for, for two plus hours, it's like, what can I do, who, you know, what can I take my attention off what I'm doing to, to break up the monotony of just training on there? Um you know, oh, there's, there's so many tricks. One infomercials are phenomenal for just like, taking your mind off what you're doing. Like, I remember just sitting there watching the magic bullet and just be like, wow, that, that's amazing, you know, next, you know, 78 miles have gone by and you're just like, okay, you know, I do, you know, I'll even do, like, for me, life time fitness, like I mentioned, is a big sponsor of Team Usa Minnesota, and they have, you know, 15 clubs around the Minneapolis ST paul area. I would even go to have a rotation of clubs that I would go to for just to break up the scenery, or I would, you know, do 10 miles on one treadmill, get on the other side of the club on a different treadmill, just to have a different view of what was going on.

Um you know, and that for me, you know, broke it up and um I guess once you start wrapping your head around the fact that you're gonna be on this thing for two plus hours it gets a little easier, you know, I always found the five mile that were just like a half an hour run were the ones that dragged on forever because I felt like it was like, oh, this should go by seconds and you know, next thing, you know, I'm just like a mile in only, Huh? That's funny. I mean just for some reason I kind of expected you to almost say like, oh, I don't get bored, you know, just because you've done so much of it. Um But I mean obviously, you know, I can't run more than a couple of miles on, I'm like this is it, I'm done its stuff. Yeah, I mean that's you know, probably biggest battle is, is just doing it. Yeah. Do you ever feel like that's an advantage in races or you know, otherwise where you have maybe an ability to kind of zone out maybe a little bit more or push yourself, you know, like when you're running outside, it's obviously a lot easier mentally, you know, do you feel like that's an advantage to you sometimes um you know, sometimes I think every runner kind of draws, you know, strength from, from different areas of their training and for me, you know, just the ability to zone out and especially when I'm doing like a hard long tempo road and kind of disassociate from the pain and just lock in on this pace, you know, definitely like, you know, everyone has that time when they're running where things start to hurt and and the, you know, the option of slowing down and not continuing that pace always seems so much better, but in the end, you know, you know, you're gonna be disappointed if you do that, so yeah, definitely.

Yeah, interesting. Now, you know, with the workouts that Dennis barker was assigning you, how did you adapt them at least in the build up to the US half Marathon championships? How did you adapt them from what you might have been doing outside to what you had to do on the treadmill? Was there anything that you needed to change? You know, Dennis is is a very interesting coach where he'll never give you a pace, he wants you to hit for a workout, you know, a lot of our conversations leading into a workout is, you know, well, what do you think you could run this in kind of thing? And so, you know, that didn't change the fact that we were on the treadmill, it was just like, well, do what you think you can do and this is the type of effort that you want to be having in this. So, um, you know, having that, going in, it was all off of how I felt, you know, so staying within myself within that work out. Um you know, the biggest issue that, that we have while training on the treadmill, is that sometimes the treadmills don't go any faster than for 45 days, you know, there's only a few treadmills out there that will actually get down to that four minute pace.

So then you're dealing with incline, you know, like going up to 3% will, you know, increase your speed by by x amount kind of thing? So that's what I found I was having to do a lot of is, you know, if I wanted to get down in that 4 20 pace, next thing, you know, I'm running for 45 pace with, you know, a 4.5% grade kind of thing. And so um you know, you had to adjust off of that, but at the time I was just going off the field, you know, like this felt like an anaerobic type effort type thing, so that's how I did it. Yeah, So digging into that, that kind of increasing the incline to increase the effort or roughly the pace. Did you guys have a chart that you used to roughly? I think Jack Daniels has a chart that roughly equates grade to effort. Did you guys have a chart that you used or was it just kind of based on how you felt? You know, I had a chart at home and I always would mean to bring it with me when I went for a workout, but I would just forget it, I always forgot it and I was just like, well, whatever I'll just, you know, I'll do what I can do, you know, and so I've seen the chart, I've never used it, you know, I've obviously looked at it and um no, I, so no, I never never used a chart or anything like that.

I mean, I actually think in some ways that's probably a better approach, just from the fact that you're able to listen to your body a little bit more and, you know, you understand that there isn't, there is a equation or, and, and I should say, is a relevance to what the effort is going to be when you increase the incline and so you just kind of listen to your body and said, I'm running really hard, This is probably what running for 20 pace on the track would be effort wise, and that's pretty much what you're at, so you're kind of more listening to what your body was saying. Yeah, definitely. Um so in terms of um some of the other workouts, one of the things that I have a hard time when I have to assign athletes workouts that are on the treadmill is doing anything, like for example, you're talking for 20 pace, um it's hard to Go from stopping to 4, 20 pays, you know, standing to 4, 20 pace and then, you know, how do you safely navigate those types of speed workouts? Um man, I'm pretty reckless and I get on that trend, so best to ask about this, but um jeez I I just I try to grab on the best I can to just anything while I try to slow that pace down.

Um For me I found it too hard to jump off the treadmill and then slow it down. So you know, I would always try to grab on and then try to, you know, hit the buttons to slow down a little bit. Um You know, there's been times where I almost fell off, you know, like especially the times when I One time I mishit the grade and it went up to like 10% grade when I was on like, I don't know, like 445 face kind of thing and and as it was going, I kept reaching to try to grab the bar to to slow it down and I kept missing it right, I didn't fall off, but uh you know, yeah, there was there was some panic going on with that one. No, no, I've never never fallen off. There's been close, there's been a couple of times where like if yeah um Yeah, so just for people to, I guess so I can picture it as well, basically what you're doing is you're trying to press the buttons and slow down as much as you can at the same time. Yeah, okay and then what about starting back into the interval um you know, for example, if you want to be hitting, you know, for example, if you're on the treadmill that goes for a minute pace and you want to be at 4 20 pace, do you just jump right on at 4 20 pace, or do you try to increase it in a certain certain pointer?

So before, like, if I have 20 seconds to go in my recovery, I'll start increasing that pace up just a little bit, you know, six minute pace and then slowly work my way down, um you know, once I start getting into, like, you know, under five, I'll hit my time for, for the interval type thing, so, you know, it might not be 4 20 pace for the entire mile or whatever, but, you know, by the time I get there and relax into the pace, it's pretty close, you know, the we do a lot of, like progressive tempo runs and those always seem to go a little bit better on the treadmill than they did outside, um and I'm sure a lot of that had to do was, you know, starting at a pace that was a little bit easier and then working myself up into a pace that was more, you know, where I should have ended at, and I think outside, you know, you have the tendency to think that you're going too slow, too often when you're trying to do something like that, and so you would start at a pace that maybe wasn't, you know doable the entire time while you're working out?

You actually that's a great example. I see that with a lot of the athletes that I coach is, we do a lot of cut down runs and it's always the first couple of miles, you feel great and then you end up running a little fast and you don't think it's gonna come back to bite you and then the last mile and you can't do it because you've run too hard. And obviously on the treadmill it's you can can completely control it. So it makes a lot of sense along the same line. What's your favorite workout on the to do on a treadmill? If you I know nobody's favorite. We do uh we do a workout, it's 15, 10, 10, 5, so 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes, um five minute recovery between all those sets and it's basically just as fast as you can do each interval. So that, you know, it's not even you're not even trying to maintain threshold case or anything like that, it's like fast, you can run for 15 minutes fast, you can run for 10 minutes kind of thing. And you know, I hate that work out when I have to do it outside because it always goes terrible, but when I do have a treadmill, you know, I always have a really strong work out with that one. So why do you think that is? Do you think it has to do something again with the ability to control pacer?

You know, I don't I don't really know because you know, I start at a pretty aggressive pace right from the start and there's an pretty steep incline on it in order to keep that pace that I want to hit. So, you know, I don't I don't really know if there's a reason, I think maybe it's just a mental thing for me, Like whatever reason, that one is just like that mental beast that I have, that I just for whatever reason, can't have a successful day when I'm on the road. That was some awesome advice from one of the faster runners in the US. Hopefully it gave you some good tips for when you need to bring your workouts indoors and provided some mental comfort, knowing that even the best can run their fastest when they need to train on the treadmill. That said, if you're one of those runners who hates the treadmill and always feels like you're pushing harder to hit the same paces. Coach Haley sheds some light on why this might be don't worry, you're not alone in this. There have actually been studies that show that perception of effort is higher on the treadmill. So you feel like you're running faster at slower paces. Scientists have actually instructed runners to run around a track and then self select the same effort on the treadmill and the places they ran on the treadmill was significantly slower.

However, it is likely that this is psychological, as running on a treadmill should actually be physiologically easier. There's less wind resistance, which means you use less oxygen at a lower pace. However, you can counteract this by the way by setting the treadmill at a 1% incline. That being said, there are several theories while running on a treadmill can feel more difficult. So you might be using slightly different biomechanics. So a slightly different running gait. If you weren't used to running on a treadmill, it's slightly different. Running gait could actually convince your brain that you're working slightly harder, even if you aren't, the treadmill belt propels you forward, making you rely more on your quads than your hamstring muscles. If you aren't used to this, perhaps it tricks your brain into thinking that you're actually running a little harder than you are. Another factor might be the fact that the speed on the treadmill is constant. When you run outdoors, you're likely naturally speed up and slow down. Even just slightly outdoors, you'll also likely make slight changes to your stride length and frequency for variables like hills and roads. Scientists suggest that this could make things feel a little harder because you aren't changing your movement pattern at all.

Maybe it's more fatiguing on our brain and how could we forget that monotony of running on the treadmill belt for ages, time can seem to last forever and this alone could have some kind of effect on how fatigued you feel. I guess we don't know for sure why the treadmill feels harder. However the fact is that you're not alone and for some people it just does that was super helpful if you need some specific workout ideas. We added a link to the show notes where you can download our five favorite treadmill workouts with names like green eggs and ham and in and out burger who wouldn't want to try them? Just had two runners connect backslash treadmill to get the download. Now before we get into the best gear for winter running, let's hear from our sponsors after the end of year work obligations and holiday family fun. It's easy to start the new year, stressed out, worn out and lacking motivation, which is definitely not the way you want to start the new year.

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The best part is once you have your results, they set you up with registered dietician to go over your results and explain what each biomarker means. Then they'll go over the scientific literature behind each supplement they recommend based on your personal health markers. Your customs supplements are delivered straight to your door every month, divided into convenient daily packets and they evolve as your biomarkers and health data change. If you'd like to give L. O. A. Try, you can get a free blood biomarker test which is a $200 value by going to L. O dot health and entering code R. T T. T. That's L O E L O dot health and enter code R. T. T. T. For a free blood biomarker test. Thanks elo, Welcome back Winter runners now for those of you who may be new to cold weather running and need recommendations for what to wear coach.

Rory is back to give you a breakdown of all the essential gear and when to wear them. If you're wearing so many layers that you look like ralphie from a christmas story, you're probably over doing it. In fact, I find that runners are more likely to over dress than under dress and cold weather. As a general rule of thumb, I advise dressing like the temperature is 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature, You should feel slightly chilly for the first mile or so, but I assure you you'll warm up. Now of course if wind is involved, this rule does not apply on really cold days, It's best to have a thick thermal layer that's touching your skin ideally. It should be a material that wicks moisture so you don't get sweaty and cold, add additional layers depending on the temperature. With the final layer being a wind breaking jacket or shell. Not only does this protect you from wet or windy, but it also traps the heat generated by your inner layers. The nice thing about cold weather running is that you can always add or remove a layer if you get too warm on the run, shed a layer and stash it in a bush or hiding spot that isn't too heavily trafficked, then loop back around and pick it up towards the end of your run on bottom.

Running tights or spandex or a must. If the temps are mild enough. One layer should do on days where the windshield will be a factor, you might wear another pair of looser pants over the tights to block the wind and trap the heat Besides preventing beard sickles from forming a baklava scarf buff or neck warmer. Can protect you from frigid winds that sting your face and irritate your airways. I recommend this extra piece of gear when temperatures drop below 10 F or negative 12 Celsius. Also. this additional layer allows you to recycle the natural water vapor that gets trapped in the material when you exhale mittens are warmer than gloves as they keep your fingers close together. In addition, you can purchase hand warmers for each mitten or glove. They usually cost about a dollar per package and provide several hours of warmth. Trail shoes or shoes with good grip will suffice if you're running on packed snow. However, if the terrain is icy or slippery, you should wear micro spikes, yak tracks or a comparable product for increased traction, of course, be sure to pair these with thick moisture.

Wicking socks to block snow or water passing through the mesh ventilation and a running shoes upper. I've seen some runners take the toe box with duct tape. You might associate winter with darkness. However, if you're running midday in a snowy environment, there's often a huge glare created by the sun reflecting off the snow to avoid temporary snow blindness where a pair of your favorite polarized shades. If you live in a place where the sun rises and sets, especially early during the winter months, make sure you're visible to drivers and others. Let yourself up like a christmas tree with headlamps, blinkers, reflective clothing and anything else that will increase your visibility. Now, for those of you that have never raced a spring, half marathon or ultra. One of the elements that often ruins a lot of races and great training cycles is having to race in warm or even moderate conditions when you've been training all year and 30 degree weather, Even low sixties can feel like a hot summer day. So here are some tips from coach Jeff on how to adapt your training later in the winter months as your race approaches and to make sure you're prepared for potentially warmer weather.

How should I train to be heat adapted for an out of town race if you live in a cold place? So bob, that's a great question because that happens to a lot of runners who are in the northern areas northeast, Midwest, Northwest who are training throughout the winter and then racing spring half marathons marathons, five Ks, 10 Ks. And they don't have the time to get heat adapted as they would training in the summer. Now we've done a lot of research on just how much heat can affect your performance even when your heat adapted. If you're curious about, you know, just what those numbers are, what the performances disadvantages can be. I encourage you to check it out. I go to the runners connect dot net slash blog and search heat or go to google and search runners connect heat and you're gonna see a lot of articles that we've written about the science about just how how much you'll slow down the heat. We actually even have a pretty awesome calculator. That's part of our training plans that you enter the temperature and the dew point and it's going to tell you exactly how much your training cases are going to slow down based on that heat.

So it's a pretty significant number in most cases and for most people. And one of the best ways to combat that is to be heat adapted because when your body is adapted to the heat, those performance declines are going to get a little bit less. So it is important that if you believe or there's the potential that you're going to run in a hot weather or even war weather race and you only have the ability to train in cooler weather that you try to get yourself heat adapted. Now there are three or four ways that you can do this. And the first is you're going to want to make sure that you dress warmly all the time you want to for all of your runs, you want to over dress. And that means it could mean wearing a hat, even if it's 50 or 60 degrees out, you know, it is tough to over dress when it's, you know, 10, 15 degrees outside, that's kind of difficult. But you can still do it as many, you know, you can still sweat significantly in the winter if you over dress. So what you would normally wear for whatever given temperature you're running in, add a little bit more. Maybe take, maybe pretend that it's 10 to 20 degrees colder outside than it really is.

Now, I want to caution you with that with all of these tips that I'm going to give you, you need to be careful. It is possible that you could dehydrate yourself, that you could get in some serious trouble by training too much in the heat or just like you could in the summer, if it's 100 degrees outside and you go and try to do a hard workout, they're going to be potentially some repercussion And the same thing can be said for all of the tips that I'm gonna give you here. Don't be ridiculous about these things. So if it's 60°, don't go out in your snowsuit and a plastic trash bag and and try to run. That's only going to lead to bad results. So be realistic here dressed like it's 10-20° cooler so that you're not hurting yourself, but you're giving yourself a chance to heat adapt. So that's the first one is going to be over dressing. Now you can combine that with maybe running on the treadmill and over dressing. So that's really good for when it's the middle of winter, when it's 10 degrees outside and over dressing is hard to do no matter what you wear, you can do your run on a treadmill and still over dress. So that could be mean wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt even though you're on the treadmill, maybe even wearing a hat, you may look a little silly in the, but you can get away with it.

The other thing that you can do with the treadmill is if you're at home, you can usually, depending on where your treadmill is, you can change or alter the temperature of the room that you're training in. So you can, maybe, if your treadmill set up in the garage, you can bring in a heater, if it's set up in the basement, you can get it really hot down there and then you can do your work out in those conditions. And again, one thing to remember with any of these heat adaptation tricks, especially when it comes to the running itself, is that your performance is going to decline. So if you're going to do your long ones, your speed workouts on a treadmill, overdressed or in hot conditions in your basement etcetera, you need to anticipate that your performance is going to decline as much as it would if you were actually training in those conditions. So if you make it 75° and humid in your basement, it's just gonna be like running 75° and humid outside your performance is gonna decline. So keep that in mind. Don't think that it's not working for you or get frustrated with your workouts. If they don't go well if you're using heated adaptation strategies. So those are two really good ways. This third is going to be utilizing a sauna or a steam room and obviously this is probably only available to those of you who have nice commercial gyms around you.

But a sauna and a steam room can help surround your body with those temperatures. So you kind of get used to it. I used to really like doing my ab workouts in the sauna. So what I would do is I would try to go to the sauna at the gym at less crowded times. I wouldn't go at six o'clock or six p.m. Or you know, 67 o'clock in the morning. I would try to go a little bit earlier. Maybe if I got out of work early, I'd go at like four, maybe I'd go a little bit later. But I would do my ab workouts or my core workouts in the sauna, I would bring a little yoga mat in there, there wasn't anybody else and I would kind of go through my routine and I found that worked really well because the core routines weren't super hard, but there were enough where I wasn't just sitting there. So it kind of was a balance of both worlds where not just sitting there, not getting a lot of adaptation, but not trying to do anything too difficult since saunas are very hot. You want to be careful that you're not over doing it. So that's what I like to do, even if you're just sitting in there, it can be a good subtle way for your body to start adapting to that temperature difference. Now, the last thing that you want to do is you want to make sure that you are drinking and hydrating, like it is hot outside.

So one of the things that gets a lot of runners in trouble when they go to race and hot and humid climates after training in the winter is that their stomachs aren't adapted to taking in all that fluid. So the more fluid that you have to intake, the more it's going to potentially slosh around in your stomach. So you want to make sure that you adapt your body to that. And also what happens in the winter is because it's so cold outside, you don't feel like you need to drink as much as you do when it's hot. So you maybe, even in training you're drinking less than you might normally when training for any type of race. And then you combine that with the fact that you're now racing in a hot conditions in your body just isn't used to taking on on those fluids. So drink like it's hot drink when you're not thirsty and I'm talking about during your runs right after your runs, etcetera, Basically drink even if you're not thirsty, so go through your hydration plan as if it was a 78° day, that's gonna help a lot and for those of you who have used our nutrition blueprint before you'll know that there is a calculator there, that will tell you exactly how much you need to drink for every given temperature that you might race in.

Um and so that's where you would actually want to use that calculator and say even though it's maybe 40 degrees outside when you're running, make believe that it's 80. So use those calculations as if it was 80 degrees and that's going to allow your body to adapt to taking in that fluid. So those are four really good ways to help heat adapt yourself. And if you are training now when it's cold environment and you're racing in the spring, definitely start to implement at least three or four of those ideas and it's going to help your performance significantly. If it turns out to be warm on race day host Finma lands in here again. What were your thoughts on that panel of experts and their winter whether training tips seriously, we'd love to hear from you, help us get the conversation started by leaving a question or comment on the post for this episode on facebook and instagram once again, thank you for listening to the run to the top podcast.

I'm your host, Finn Melanson as always, our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode. Please consider connecting with me on instagram at Wasatch Finn and the rest of our team at runners connect also consider supporting our show for free with a rating on the Spotify and Apple podcast players. And, lastly, if you love the show and want bonus content behind the scenes experiences with our guests and premier access to contests and giveaways and subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners, connect dot net back slash podcast and until next time, Happy Training.

Secrets to Winter Running Unlocked
Secrets to Winter Running Unlocked
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