Thursday, 11 October 2012

Stay Fit... Stay Safe!

Winter is setting in fast for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Nights are drawing in, and choosing not to go out for your run becomes a more enticing option. In fact, we've already noticed that downloads of the app have started to drop along with the temperature; not many people want to start their life-changing workout at this time of year.

If you're reading this article, then you're probably eager to buck that trend and maintain the hard work you've put in over the summer. In fact, Winter can be a really great time to run - your body is cooler, and sometimes you just feel like you've got so much more energy. So, you've decided to keep running and shed an extra few pounds so that you don't feel guilty about enjoying an extra slice of turkey over the holidays. What do you need to know about running in the Winter, so that you can stay fit, and stay safe?

Warm up at home


During the Winter  it's very easy to overdress. You step outside, feel the bitter wind, and add some extra layers. A mile down the road, you've fully warmed up, and you're really starting to sweat -  and wish you'd left some of those layers at home!

A good way to work around this is to spend your 5 minute warm up in your home. Just do some gentle exercises - some jumping jacks, running on the spot, squat jumps. Just enough to raise the heart beat a little, get the blood pumping to the muscles, and get you ready to run. That way you won't be walking for 5 minutes in the cold, but you'll be better able to gauge what you need to wear.

Layers


Wear light layers, rather than a big fleecy jumper. That way you can open them up, or remove them as necessary. What you need to wear depends very much on conditions, but be smart. Here in the UK I normally wear track-suit bottoms, a t-shirt and a long sleeved reflective cycling jacket. Man-made fibres are good because they'll wick the sweat away from your body.

Extra warmth for the extremities


Though your body will warm quickly, your hands, toes, ears and nose will suffer the cold more. Find a hat, gloves, warm socks, and if it's really cold, a face mask.

Hydrate


Because you're not sweating so much it's easy to think that you don't need to hydrate. In fact you're probably breathing out almost as much water as when the weather is warm.

Be careful about hydrating too soon before you run - you really don't want a litre of water sloshing around in your belly while you are running (the results might not be pretty!). Make sure you hydrate well during the day, but don't drink anything more than a few sips in the hour before you run.

Find a running partner


It's a good idea to run with someone, especially in the Winter  when the nights are dark. This is especially true for the women - you'll be safer in pairs. There's also another benefit - if you've arranged to meet someone, you're less likely to drop out and let that person down. Try to meet indoors though - nobody wants to be hanging around outdoors on a cold night.

Visibility


I can't say this enough. Even if it isn't dark yet, make sure you're visible. High Vis jackets are cheap, and most running gear has reflective stripes on it. Clip on cycle lights are also a good idea, especially if you're running somewhere were there are no street lights.

Stay dry


The only way to stay 100% dry is to wear full waterproofs, which isn't practical, but take steps to stay dry where possible. Dry out your shoes before your next run, as running in cold damp shoes isn't pleasant, and wear a waterproof jacket if possible. Zip-lock bags will help to keep your phone dry, though bear in mind that they are not 100% waterproof.


Be flexible


You need to fit 3 runs in over 7 days, ideally with a rest day in-between. This leaves you with a little flexibility to shift your runs about a little. If it's pouring down with rain, skip it and run tomorrow, or if you're on the second day of your 2 day break and the weather is lovely, run today - it could rain tomorrow. When I first did Couch-to-5K, I made a deal with myself. I could move runs, but not cancel them. I had to finish all of my 27 runs within the 9 weeks, 3 runs per week. If I had meetings, or was faced with bad weather I allowed myself to move runs around in the week, but I had to fit them in somehow.


Set a goal


You might need a little extra inspiration over the winter, so great way to motivate yourself is too book yourself into a race in the spring, or early in the year. There are often holiday and new year events too, which can be a great atmosphere on a crisp Winter morning. Pay the registration fee upfront too, so that you know that you've got an event to train for. Count how many weeks you have, and plan your workouts, leaving a spare week or two for setbacks. Keep this goal in sight, especially when your bed seems more cozy than your training shoes. (Thanks to Cherie on Facebook for this one)

Good luck with your Winter running, and remember - Stay fit, stay safe!

42 comments:

  1. Good thoughts. Lidl and Aldi often have cheap running / cycling gear in stock.

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  2. Thanks for your thoughtfulness. I would jabber never imagined I could do this. I started running at 233lbs and am moving down, well I think anyways. I will not check until the end of the month....that's one of my goals. Thanks again and keep me going strong with all the wonderful encouragement.

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    1. I am currently the same weight as you. I will be starting week 1 day 1 tomorrow. Any pointers?

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    2. Good shoes..lol...just keep going. I have found that even saying to myself...you can and you will do this..helps me out. it seems to get a little easier as you run, and harder the next week day 1 but it seems to be making me feel better, with more energy.

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    3. I started running at 253 lbs (5ft11in- female) and after 50 days I am now down to 230 lbs!! Running has gotten easier, but I still struggle. It feels like the struggle is mostly due to the extra 75 lbs I am carrying around on my body. Its my goal to lose all that weight by October 2013!! With the help of this app & my determination....I will make it!!!

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    4. Knowing that you were close to my weight gives me hope. I noticed that day 1 was hard. Any tips to get pass Day 1 without running buddy?

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    5. Maybe use an ice-hot patch? Or A5-35

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  3. Brianna, I'm interested in your story, please keep me posted on how do you doing! You can update me by friending me on fb or posting on my run tracker: www.gofundme.com/PierresRunForGood. best wishes on your journey!

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    1. Trying to keep it up. My legs are killing me today, but I ran four times this week because I felt good, maybe I shouldn't have done that.lol

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  4. I've only been on-off running this calendar year, but I'm looking forward to winter to get back in it properly. I found it harder to find a cool enough period during summer to get a decent run in and can't wait for the cold crisp mornings - breaking the frosty grass with my trainers!

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  5. Hello, what inspirational words. I started my running journey with the ideal my heavy body wasn't built to run. But here I am on week 5 of the C25K. Completing each run is such a buzz with the overwhelming sense of achievement of. "I did it! ". I used RunMeter on the iPhone combined with the NHS podcasts. I have since moved to Android and have spent the last week looking for a suitable replacement that had the workouts already planned. This app looks promising :-) 1st test drive in the morning!

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    1. This is perfect..I love it so far...ran my first over a quarter mile yesterday....yeah...and it really want so bad. I just got new shoes so that may have helped a little.keep up the good work everyone.

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  6. I can't wait to get running but a knee injury has postponed my plans. I have to wait for doctor approval. I hope to soon join all of you

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  7. Who would of thought I would bee running, but I am doing it and feeling great ;-)

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  8. Yeah me too... I ran for the full 20 mins.... for what i think is the first time in my 35yrs! If this and the 5k for distance goes well i may sign up for the local 10K next year! Loving it, loving it loving it! It just such a buzz.... who says big girls cant run!!

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  9. It just got cold here, and I'm on week 2. Just wondering my pace rate is going up while my distance is getting a bit shorter. Of course at the same time I'm able to keep up with the intervals and I feel more energy. Is that ok?

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    1. That's perfectly fine. The main point is that you are able to manage the intervals. Often you'll find that you can draw a little more energy in the cold weather.

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  10. My husband and I are both obese. How do I convince him to be my running partner?

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    1. If he is to be successful, it's important that he WANTS to make a change. He has to do this for himself.

      That said, you could explain the many benefits that he will get from it. He will almost certainly live for longer, have reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. He may even start to enjoy running - so many people have been surprised about this one. He'll have more energy, be able to do more, and get more out of life.

      Tell him that if he values and cherishes his life, then this will help him to get more from it, and hopefully more of it too!

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  11. On to week five..what to do about side cramps...in my back?

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    1. Don't eat too much before running, and don't drink for about an hour before (but make sure you are well hydrated before that).

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    2. Thanks for the advice, I will surely use it.

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  12. I'm on week one and so glad for all your helpful info.

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  13. Keep it up...once you get pass the first two weeks you're golden. I never thought I would beer on week six, but I am doing it.

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  14. Week 1, Day 1 completed and Im chuffed. Just when I began finding the running really really tough, the voice wud come on my earphones saying its time to reduce to a brisk walk! So looking forward to my next session... :-)

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    1. You can do it...I am on week seven now and never thought I would run this long ..22 min...1.82 miles

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  15. Two years ago I lost 80 pounds. Since then I have put back on 35 pounds and that number is not going to go up anymore! I am looking forward to using this running plan!

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  16. I am overweight at 196# @ 5'4". I'm 45 y.o. looking forward to starting this program to get in shape and lose weight. I travel a lot, and wont run in unfamiliar places, but most always have a treadmill available at the hotels. Is it ok to run/walk on a treadmill?

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    1. Sure. Just use the "(timed)" plan, and you'll be fine on a treadmill. It will not track your distance, but you can enter it afterwards.

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  17. Week 1day 3. These words are so encouraging! I have never been fit in my life & this will change that. Looking forward to a 5 K in the spring.

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  18. I'm week 1 day one today. My app got messed up cuz my phone died so i ended a lil short. I struggled a little bit, which is a little discouraging but its understandable. I'm a 5' 5'' 170lb 19 year old. I defiantly felt like I should of blew right through that run but oh well i just gotta keep pushing through. I'm not doing this for weight loss(although that is always a plus) my goal is just to be healthy. I have a family hstory of heart attacks, so i just want to do everything I can to keep the path irrelevant. I've also always wanted to run a 5k, not just participate but be actual competition. My biggest problem with winter running is my breathing. I tend to freeze up my lungs by breathing through by mouth and it slows me down.

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  19. Week 1 day 1 done! The hardest part was actually convincing myself to get out of the house and give it a go. Finding that my calf and shin muscles lock up part way through - any tips on how to manage those? I got to the point where I had to stop and stretch in one of the walking bits because I felt like I was about to tear my Achilles. :/

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    1. Try and take it a little slower. You will get some stiffness in the first week or so, but you should adjust to it. If it continues I recommend you see your doctor.

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    2. Hi! Im an certified athletic trainer. The recovery inbetween runs is what you really need to focus on. Make sure ur hydrating as well as stretching immediatly after your runs. One of the best ways to stretch is to find a step and let the the back half of ur foot fall down below the edge of the step. You can stretch ur shins by either getting on ur knees and sitting backwards on ur heels or by sitting on ur butt and have some one else grab the toos of ur feet and point the towards the ground. And last and most helpful is to ice! Best way to ice ur shins is by using what are called ice cups. Fill a paper cup 3/4ths full of water and freeze them in ur freezer ahead of time. When u get home take one out ripenough of the cuo to expose the ice and apply it directly to ur shin and start moving it in circles. The more ur shin goes numb from the cold the harder you can push to actually massage the muscles along the front of ur leg. It is not the most pleasant thing while ur doing it, but ur legs will thank you. You can also ice massage ur achillies as well! Hope this helps a little as it will speed up ur recovery!

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  20. I started C25K back in January of 2012. I was doing amazing and lost 15lbs in a month.. Then, February 8th I found out I was pregnant.. So, I had to stop. As of last week, I began again! I am now on W2D2 complete this morning! I weigh 235 and have lost 2.5lbs so far! I am so happy to be back running and can't wait to run my first 5k!

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    1. Keep up the hard work. Good luck!

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  21. Love all the encouragment!!!!! I am going to the police academy and needed some thimg to get me into running (never liked running/avoided it). This has helped so much!!!!!!

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  22. Took me a week to get myself to attempt W1D1, but I just finished it & I didn't die. I am sweating like crazy, but I actually did it. I just hope I can continue. My plan is 1 weekend day & T/Th. Motivation is my biggest stumbling block. I just don't care about moving. I'll do one at a time. Send happy thoughts.

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  23. Just completed W4D2. Holy cow I saw that W4D1 had five minute intervals in there and I was thinking, "WHAT!!! How in the blazes am I going to do that!" You know what...I did it. It's NEVER as bad as you think it is. I cannot stress this enough.

    I am 38, mother of seven (I KNOW!!), a registered nurse and obese. I am motivated spiritually to run for my only son who was born with a heart defect almost 16 years ago and has had two open heart surgeries. As well, I am inspired to run for my nephew who has a rare genetic disorder and is expected to have a short life expectancy.

    When it gets tough during a run I look to the sky and ask God to give me the strength to push through and remember about the two beautiful boys I run for. I consider everything they've been through and what's to come...they have NO choice in the matter in what happens to their bodies. How dare I choose to not take care of myself simply out of choice.

    We are all so blessed in ways we may not be aware. Everything...EVERYTHING begins with taking a single step. Never underestimate what you are capable of for you will surely surprise yourself. With that said, here's looking forward to W4D3 on Friday and motivation to keep going the distance.

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  24. I started the C210K 4 weeks ago because I wanted to get ready for a 5K (figured, if I train for a 10K, I can certainly run a 5K!). Prior to that, I was NOT a runner. I was surprised that I didn't die after day 1, but I still didn't like running. I still don't (LOL). However, yesterday was W4D2, and not only did I almost cut a full minute off of my pace from W4D1, I also got my best pace since I started! It is starting to feel just a teeny, weeny bit easier, almost not noticeable, but it finally does feel like less of a chore.

    My son runs cross country (new for him), and he and I are going to run a half-marathon next year, with the goal of a full marathon in 2015! I will be 45 next month, and I can't wait to say I ran my first marathon at 47!

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  25. We need a way to get credit on the treadmill during the winter. Maybe a step counter like my fitbit.

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