Sunday, January 3, 2010

26°F, Feels Like 16°F, Just Screams 15 Miles!

Today marked the end of the 4th week of training for the Atlanta ING Marathon. Running 15 miles, the farthest thus far, in below freezing temperatures makes you question if it is really worth it. Once we finished I snapped back into reality and realized it's worth every moment of torture. There are always obstacles in running long distance, cold weather just happens to be one. You need a bigger and better reason to just give up all your hard work. Here are a few tips for cold weather running... well, cold weather running here in the South:

  • Dress as if it is 15-20 degrees warmer than what the temperature currently reads before your run. Overdressing can cause your body to enclose too much heat as your body warms up and can possibly lead to heat related injuries. Remember if you walk outside before starting your run and you are comfortable shed some layers. You should feel a tad chilly.
  • Most heat from your body will escape through the distal ends (head and feet). Make sure your feet are covered throughly, but allow heat to escape so you do not build up moisture in your socks causing wet feet. This will also help to avoid athletes feet. Wicking moisture socks are ideal. Also, try using a hood, beanie, or ear-warmers to help entrap heat around your head. Always remember you can shed layers while running.
  • Running gloves help your fingertips from going numb. Running with gloves depends on the runner. Some runners don't like things around their hands, feel it is distracting, or it gets too hot. I recommend wearing gloves on a windy day because the wind chill is usually more deathly than just the cold.
  • Energy levels deplete quicker on colder days because the body shuns blood to the working muscles leaving the nonworking muscles with less blood resulting in less heat. The lower levels of blood causes those muscles to drop in temperature so the body shivers to help warm up the body. The shiver results in more energy used. The key is to make sure you are not only dressed properly, but also take in some type of energy during your longer runs. Energy intake can be through a shake, energy bar, fruit, jelly belly energy beans, etc. What your body uses up you need to refuel the same amount and possibly a little bit more to help the rebuilding of muscles.
  • You do sweat in cold weather while exercising. Remember to wear proper clothes. If you wear too much clothing the garments will soak up the sweat causing your body temperature to drop too quickly once you end your run. Wicking material is best, or just polyester, not cotton.
  • Water is important. Dehydration still occurs during the cold weather. Once you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Drink water before, during (if possible), and after. During longer runs (runs longer than an hour) replenish your electrolyte intake as well.
  • Cold weather and wind can cause chafing. Wear sunglasses, or some type of eye protection, in the colder months even if it isn't sunny to help keep your eyes from drying out. The glasses will also help keep the skin around your eyes from becoming dry and/or wind burnt. Anti-chafing bars/sticks (i.e. Bodyglide) will help keep your skin from drying out and causing abrasions. You can also use it on your feet to help prevent blisters. Carry chapstick with you while running to avoid cracks and blisters on your lips.
Don't let the cold weather hold you back. 26°F is cold, but I believe if you don't let yourself ponder on it while running you won't realize it's that cold. Just run, listen to some good music, stay focused, and think about Sunny Florida. Many people find excuses not to exercise. Don't let yourself justify it being cold as a reason not to exercise. You are able to control your body temperature to help make the cold more enjoyable.

Exercise of the Week: One Leg Balance. This exercise will help build strength in your whole leg, upper and lower. What is good about this exercise is you are using your body weight as the resistance; however, you can always progress into using weights in addition. Having strong legs helps push yourself up those hills, control downhills, and work on gaining speed. To preform the exercise:

One Leg Balance:
  • Stand shoulder width apart.
  • Shift your wight to one leg while lifting the other leg slightly off the ground.
  • Hold this position for 30- 60 seconds.
  • Switch legs and and follow the above steps. Completion of 1 rep.
  • Repeat for 3-5 reps.
One Leg Balance Progression:
  • Stand shoulder width apart.
  • Shift your weight to one leg while lifting the other leg off the ground at waist level with the knee bent at a 90 degree angle.
  • Hold this position for 60-90 seconds.
  • Switch legs and follow the above steps. Completion of 1 rep.
  • Repeat for 5-10 reps.
One Leg Balance Weighted Progression:
  • Stand should width apart.
  • Shift your eight to one leg while lifting the other leg slightly off the ground, or off the ground at waist level with the knee bent at a 90 degree angle, while holding a weighted medicine ball or dumbbell of your choice. To progress more, while holding the above position, squat down mimicking the act of sitting in a chair and then back up.
  • Hold this position for 60-90 seconds.
  • Switch legs and follow the above steps. Completion of 1 rep.
  • Repeat for 3-5 reps.
  • Remember for strength gain and not endurance gain in a muscle add more weight and less reps.
Training Tip of the Week: Pain is common during running, especially at a distance or pace you have never experienced. There is good pain and bad pain. You know your body the best. You know what you can push through and what truly feels wrong. Don't be afraid to go further distance because it feels "uncomfortable" or "a different type of pain". Your body has to adjust to the repetitive movement. Overtime it will feel natural to your body. How you handle the pain is key. Replenish your body with proper nutrients after the run. Stretch out the muscles. Work on range of motion (ROM) activities at the affected joints. Soak your muscles in a warm bath for a little time to help dilate the veins to increase blood flow back to your muscles. As I stated in a previous blog, if you need to pop an anti-inflammatory before a long run then do. It will help alleviate the pain for a short period. I recommend only use an anti-inflammatory for a run longer than an hour and if you think you really need it.

Training Songs of the Week: Warning: The music choices this week are all over the map. Some I am proud of, some I am not. It's been awhile so I have included more than the normal amount of songs. Enjoy! :)

1. Replay- IYAZ
2. I Can Transform Ya- Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz
3. I Wanna Go Crazy- David Guetta ft. Will.I.Am
4. Live Like We're Dying- Kris Allen
5. Morning After Dark- Timbaland ft. SoShy and Nelly Furtado
6. Carry Out- Timbaland ft. Justin Timberlake
7. Symphonies- Dan Black
8. Fables- The Dodos
9. Fools- The Dodos
10. Decode- Paramore

Countdown to the Atlanta ING Marathon:
76 Days (March 21, 2010).

Happy Running,

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