Saturday, January 10, 2015

Winter Running: the Good and the Bad

Winter running is something either you do or you don't. For some once the temperature drops, the darkness and snow fall it's time to move inside. There are a lot of options for people who wish to continue their cardio workouts indoor. From the eliptical, the recumbent to the Treadmill, there is no reason to stop exercise. A person can make the investment in the equipment to establish a home gym and the great thing about this time of year is the sales on exercise equipment. If not, then there's always gyms. Here the temperature is controlled and there's a good selection, plus there is TV.

Still, with some fortitude, dedication and desire, one can continue to run outside throughout the year.

This post is dedicated to all those people who put on the toque and continue to run. It's Saturday night, so it's not going to be that profound.

The good: you don't worry about being too warm, nor does that whole 'dress to be cool in the parking lot' mean anything. Dress to keep warm, get on as many layers as you can. You can never be warm enough.

The bad: my fingers are numb. Why are my fingers numb? No not numb, they're frozen, I can't move them! Will I ever feel my fingers again? Plus it now takes you about 20 minutes to get dressed to go for a run. It's not grabbing your running shorts, it grabbing four layers of clothing and insulation.

The good:crispness of winter air. There's something delightful about that cold crisp air. It is so fresh and invigorating.

The bad: it's so cold you've got a scarf, or a neck gaiter on. Then there is the whole balaclava thing. You look like a robber and you also have been breathing in all those fleece balls. Crisp air? What crisp air? I really need to wash this thing.

The good: Snow looks so nice, the world is under the blanket of white snow. It looks wonderful. Look at it on the trees and shrubs. Also, when the snow falls, it brings a quiet to world around you. It's just you and your thoughts when it snows.

The bad: Doesn't anybody around here own or know what to do with a snow shovel? Why are the sidewalks covered under a foot of snow? Then there are the curbs at the road. Oh super the plow's been down and there is a ridge of snow 1 foot high and two feet wide. Great, now my shoes are full of snow. Want one more? Two words: 'snow' & 'squall'.

The good: no one bothers you about how running is bad for your knees and other joints.

The bad: they now warn you about freezing your lungs and developing frostbite.

The good: to other runners, you are the man, the woman, the stud. You exhibit machismo or machisma. You are one totally bad dude.

The bad: to the community at large, you are a lunatic. Your family and friends will meet and plan to have you committed.

The good: you appreciate things such as the sun coming out.

The bad: when the sun comes out that means you are in the middle of another polar vortex. The temperatures have plummeted and here you are running. Oh yeah, and that 'cool' breeze is now the cause of a soul sucking wind chill index.

The good: The sunsets you will witness. The colours, the way the sky looks. A winter sky is a whole new canvas for Nature to paint it's beauty.

The bad: The sun sets at 4:40PM, and you've barely started your 10K run. Oh great, it's going to be dark and you have to cross two busy roads.

The good: that orange reflector vest looks good on you. It looks good with everything you wear. Plus the security and safety know that you are visible to traffic.

The bad: that orange reflector vest will never look good.

The good: ice. Nothing good about ice. It is your mortal enemy. Wear those running shoe slip-on studs.

The bad: ice. It is your mortal enemy. It's either hidden under snow, or it's black ice on the road. You will find it, you will slip and fall. The good news, whatever part you land on has long since lost the sensation of feeling. You are numb, you won't feel any pain.

In December, you run under the glow of Christmas lights. They look spectacular. they brighten everything up. You'll probably stop and take some photographs. It is good to be a runner in December.

A Resolution Run. What better way to start a new year then gathering somewhere with other runners and going out for 5K or 10K run? You have done something positive to start the new year.

I will admit, winter running is not for everybody. If you got to go inside, then do it. It's all positive and will make you feel great. If you decide to try to run in the winter, start small, perhaps try running once a week outside, you will be amazed how quickly the body adjusts to the cold. Plus you now have an excuse to buy all that neat cool weather running gear. When you take a 'selfie' to prove you went for a run, that frost ring around your toque is your battle stripe. You earned it. You want a couple of more reasons? Consider these, warm beverages always taste better and hot showers feel even more heavenly. In fact, you will live for that hot refreshing shower.

So get out there and try a run.

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