My road back to fitness is getting cold...
My first thoughts this weekend, early Saturday morning, were, damn it’s cold. I was just getting on my bike to head to bootcamp, maybe not a great choice, I realised, when I came across some frosty ice patches on the road.
Those winter nights are starting to draw in and the air has got a chilled edge to it, mixed with days that are blustery and wet. This is the challenging time of the year, not quite as challenging as January will be, but it is the part of the year where the fair weathered health conscious retreat into the comfort of indoor training or maybe focussing more on the Christmas party season. For me the change in weather has seen only a, so far, small culling of attendees at training. However it’s the holiday season, office parties will be calling, friends will be socialising and once we hit the last week of December and the first week of January, well all the best intentions tend to get shoved in a cupboard and forgotten about for a short while. It’s not a bad thing, live you life, make time for friends and family, have fun. The hard bit though is getting back on the bike in January, probably the darkest, coldest and bleakest month of the year, closely followed by February.
For me this is my first time training fully outdoors through the winter and it is a little daunting, the bravado of autumn, this will be easy, has given way to the realisation that living by the sea throws up a lot of cold, wet and very windy days. So, like the good boy scout I was, I am determined to be prepared. This has involved asking questions from experienced all year round trainers, research on the internet and no real help from any of the sports stores (they were a bit useless).
The runners World article listed below will give you some basic info on approach, but I think it varies ever so slightly for different people. Some feel the cold more than others. However the approach is very simple, use layers that you can remove easily to help moderate your temperature. In addition to the advice given in the article I have a small running back pack that I use to store items in, to use as and when I need them.
From head to feet my basic winter training gear is, one long sleeve base layer shirt, on long sleeve running top with thumb holes, so the sleeve extends over the hands, a light weight running t-shirt and a windproof/waterproof, light weight running jacket to finish off. On my legs, double layered running tights (a must) and because I don’t really like the look on me, some long running shorts over the top. On my feet I wear some running socks and waterresistant trail shoes. Depending on how cold it is I will also keep my cycling gloves on when I get to training. They’re padded so are handy if your using kettle bells outside, cold iron in your hands is not a great experience. Occasionally I put a hat on, but it doesn’t usually stay on very long, as I start to overheat quickly.
Once I’m all togged up and start moving the cold is soon forgotten. We’ve only had temperatures down to 0 degrees so far, so I’ll report back on my progress when the winter really starts to bite.
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When dressing for chilly temps, remember that once you get moving that your body heats up fast—leaving you too warm if you’re bundled up. The opposite is also true: Once you stop running, you will cool down very quickly, so be prepared to get out of those wet clothes immediately upon finishing your run. It’s always wise to bring a change of dry clothes to put on as soon as you finish your run or to jump into a warm shower if readily available.