Jan 18, 2016
In this episode of the Outside Health and Fitness podcast I talk with Tara Whiton from Fleet Feet Maine Running about running outside in the winter.
On Today’s show you’ll discover...
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Running in the winter presents some different challenges from low light to low temps and slippery surfaces. But just because it’s colder out doesn’t mean you have to hang up your shoes until spring. There are plenty of runners who put in some fun miles over the winter and you can too.
Tara is a certified exercise physiologist, a running coach and an outreach coordinator for Fleet Feet Maine Running. Oh yeah....she’s also runner! Tara helps runners at any level from beginner to those running mountain and ultra races using a science-based approach.
I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk with her at Fleet Feet Maine Running in Brunswick about running outside during the winter.
For winter running there's a lot of equipment that goes into it. You want to start with a goood shoe. You can use the shoes you wear in the summer but if you do you'll want to add a traction device like Yak Traks or Ice Spikes. You can wear a trail shoe which has a more sticky rubber sole to help you grip in slippery conditions.
Wearing an insulated tight when it's cold out is a good idea. There are certain tights that have insulation in addition to wind panels that can help keep out the bitter cold. There are several different layering techiques you can use for the upper body like wearing a base layer and then a shirt or fleece over that with a wind proof jacket. It's most important to keep out the breeze so you don't freeze when you're out there.
Finally, hats, gloves and neck warmer help keep your hands, head and face warm.
Yes, the first time may feel a little strange. They do force you to change your stride a little bit. You have to be more conscious about where you're placing each foot and making sure your foot strike is underneath your body instead of out in front.
With a long stride you're more prone to injury and in the winter have a better chance of slipping.
It's pretty common to feel some pressure in your lungs when breathing cold air. Some people gave exercise induced asthma or asthma that is triggered by extreme temperatures. Everyone has a threshold where breathing becomes more difficult based on cold air.
There are some layer techniques that can help in the old. Balaclavas for example, are head gear designed with a layer that can cover your nose and mouth to help warm and moisturize cold air as your breath.
Fleet Feet has a "Winter Warriors" program which provides 5 opportunities each week to get out and run. The idea is to keep you motivated and moving outside throughout the winter. It's not really a time for structured training programs because when te weather is bad and the conditions are not safe pacing goes out the window and it becomes more about effort and just time out there.
It's also a great social opportunity and people find it to be a fun challenge to just tough out the crazy Maine winter.
Most of the runs are done on the road although when the snow is right there are some opportunities to run trails too.
Every week Tara does a clinic for the "Winter Warriors" group. For example she does 10 minute clinics on things like warming u dynamically, strength and conditioning moves you an do to become a stronger runner, things like that. In addition to clinics, the store also sponsors vendor demos to showcase new gear and equipment.
For example this month Saucony shoes are coming into demo the new Hurricane. Also Craft is coming in to demo some base layers.
Around valentines day on the 13th Fleet Feet is sponsoring a "Catch Me if You Can" fun run. It's a free event where the women get a 10 minute head start and the men attempt to catch them. After the run there will be hot chocolate and more back at the store.
Winter Warriors is a good time for general base training. It's essential to build a base level of aerobic fitness to be ready for a spring or summer race. There are some training programs coming up to prepare people for upcoming races. There's a Sugarloaf training group starting in Brunswick on Feb 22nd. It's a structured program to target runners who want to prepare for a marathon or 15K. The group is good for any range runner from those just looking to finish to those looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
There are also Beach to Beacon and Maine Marathon training groups coming up. The winter is a great time to focus running nice and slow and being really consistent to prepare for higher levels of training later on.
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