It is definitely true that our bodies perform better in cooler temps. My worst marathon experiences have all been in the extreme heat (Chicago 2007, St. Louis 2011). My results strongly support the fact that heat negatively impacts performance.
But does LL really have it worse, living in the heat of the mid-South?
She often complains about how hard it is to get her runs in due to the extreme weather. (seriously, this girl is a complainer, amiright?)…But come December through March (with an emphasis on January and February), it’s my turn to complain, and this time it’s the opposite scenario. There are some big downsides to running in the winter.
1. Runny noses: Did I have a cold before this run? Why is my nose running so much? This is when you learn that gloves are also Kleenexes. And sleeves are Kleenexes. And chapped lips and red noses are not signs that you’re a meth addict. Nope, just a winter runner.
2. Unflattering Sporthill winter pants– Can these pants be any less sexy? Loose around the hips and butt, just where we need that extra visual size. Thanks Sporthill.
3. No make-up: Can’t wear any mascara ladies, unless you want frozen raccoon eyes or frozen black tears (maybe you WANT to look like a “True Blood” vamp). So embrace those washed out tired looking eyes, and hope the rosy glow from the cold will make up for it.
4. Yak-traks: These are a necessity for winter running, but they can be pretty annoying, especially if you’re running on a mix of cleared pavement and covered. Yak-traks work great to give you a little extra traction on snow covered paths, but they are loud and annoying on clear pavement. Also, they have a tendency to break mid-run, so you’re left with a loose spring to run on, or a yak-trak on one foot, and nothing on the other!
5. Head lamps: What are we, miners? What’s with the head lamp? And if your running companion is also wearing a head lamp, every time you turn to look at each other, you are blinded by the bright light in the eye.
6. Face masks: So not sexy. Are we robbing a bank?
7. White fingers: I “self-diagnosed” (a.k.a. hypochrondriac) myself last year with Raynaud’s disease. I am not really sure if I have it, but I definitely end up with white, numb fingers in the cold. And they can stay white and numb for several hours after returning indoors. i.e. I need better gloves!
8. Running in the dark…it’s dark in the morning, its dark at night. Only on your Saturday morning runs may you see the sun.
9. Blinding headlights; you know what I’m talking about. Those passing cars’ lights will make it impossible to see anything. Isn’t the light supposed to help? See #5
10. Wind and windburn. Self-explanatory. Not fun for anyone.
11. Frozen hydration: Like to carry a water belt? Then I hope you like slushies, because I guarantee your Gatorade will be a popsicle by the end of the run.
12. “Frosty Thong”: Now, some of you may not know what this is…you obviously have not done a long run in the sub-freezing temps. Basically, in the winter when your butt is a “little bit” sweaty, that sweat will pool, & take the path of least resistance, freezing in a most conspicuous way- hence, the “frosty thong”.
And LL- you ARE wrong. The Frozen ½ marathon (Securian Winter Run) held in St. Paul, MN has been cancelled and/or shortened multiple times due to the extreme temps. The cancellations are more for the safety of the volunteers at the water stops than for the runners, since the volunteers are just standing there. But alas…it does happen.
(here’s a pic from last year’s Frozen 1/2)
Despite all my complaints, there are some positives to winter running. And I have found that is very possible, even “enjoyable,” to run outside throughout the ENTIRE mid-western winter.
-Running on a beautiful, snowy Saturday morning- snow-capped trees, luscious snowflakes, rosy cheeks. Nothing better. “Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes!”
-Coming in from a cold winter run, taking a hot shower and changing into a cozy sweater, and having a hot toddy by the fire.
- Give your body extra time to warm up, and take it a little slower at the beginning of your run to allow your body to adjust to the cold temperatures.
- Staying hydrated is still important. Put warmed gatorade in your fuel belt..it will take longer to freeze!
- If possible, schedule your run for the warmest part of the day (in the sunshine!). Maybe try a lunch-time run?
- Be flexible, and use the treadmill when it’s too dangerous to run outside. It’s not worth risking a fall or hypothermia.
- Change out of wet clothes as soon as possible.
- Wear the right socks! Or, wear more than one pair!
- Choose running shoes with as little mesh as possible (perhaps try trail-running shoes, which are often a bit more water-resistant)
The best running temperatures are happening right now in the Midwest. This fall has proven to be a great time to be a runner. The cool temps, bright blue skies, and beautiful colored trees make running very enjoyable this time of year. It’s hard to think about the brutal winter to come. But it’s on its way, and we at “The Right Fits” plan to share our experiences, good and bad, as we run through the seasons in our respective cities!
So tell me runners, who has it worse? LL or Jess???