Layering up

Running, Tips

Because I’m a four season runner in the Midwest, I often find myself stuck with the choice of whether to run outside in freezing temperatures or to trudge into campus to get on a treadmill. Since I hate running on the treadmill (that’s a post for a later time), I usually force myself out into the cold. The temps here aren’t usually unbearable in the winter – they hover around the 20s and 30s, for the most part. Occassionally, however, we get hit with a cold blast that throws the temps down into the low 10s or single digits. As anyone who’s lived in a climate like this can tell you, it’s a whole lot of misery to be outside for any reason in such temps, let alone to force oneself outside for a 7 or 8 mile training run (let alone something longer!). Yesterday, I planned a 7 mile training run. When I looked at the weather, it was 12 degrees with a windchill of -4. The best means of attack in accomplishing a run in this frozen wasteland? Layering. Here’s what I wore:

Hat – I opted for the hat over my usual headband to combat heat loss.
Face mask – Because when the wind is in your face, it’s okay to look like a ninja.

Running ninja!

Gloves – I bought some wicking gloves at the start of the fall, since last year, I nearly froze my fingers off while wearing cheap cotton gloves.

Under Armour Running Tights – These babies – or a comparable off-brand – are a must for running in the cold. I ran without for the first half of winter last year, but never again!
Waterproof shell – I use waterproof pants as a second layer of insulation, since I tend to run in areas that are windy and also fairly slushy. They add a nice protective layer that keeps me a bit warmer as well.

Wicking tank top
Wicking t-shirt
Wicking long sleeved shirt (are you sensing a trend here?)
Fleece vest
Fleece-lined jacket – Using this combo of breathable fabrics and insulation works for me. I vary the layers as the temperature demands.

Montrail trail shoes – They have spikes, which are great on unplowed roads.
Wicking socks – I tend not to go the wool sock route (which I know some do), since I’m prone to blisters. I stick with breathable socks, which don’t tear up my feet as much.

I’m hoping that the cold will let up soon, since these temps really slow me down, and I’m tired of dressing like Randy in “A Christmas Story” every time I want to run.


Weekly Mileage (Well, two-ish weeks of weeklies) – January 1-17, 2010


In an effort to be more accountable about my training, I’ve decided to post a weekly thread about my training.

Week(-ish) Zero:
January 1 – 9: 9 miles

Detailed break-down:
January 6 – 3 miles
January 9 – 6 miles

I chose to take the first week back to training really easy, what a lot of training programs will call “Week Zero.” These two runs weren’t easy, but it was nice to feel that I haven’t completely lost all of my speed or training.

1/2 Marathon Training Week 1:
January 10 – 17: 15 miles

Detailed breakdown:
Monday: Crosstraining (1/2 hour swim, 1/2 hour elliptical) + 30 mins of yoga
Tuesday: 30 mins of yoga
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles
Sunday: Rest
Monday: 6 miles

This week was a bit goofy with the start of classes, MLK Day break, and my return to crosstraining after an embarassingly long hiatus. I had a good deal of muscle fatigue during the middle of the week, so I definitely overdid it early on in the week. I wound up combining some shorter runs to catch up on them later (hence the two six milers). Generally, I feel really good about getting into a consistent training program again, especially with the way my schedule works out, with most evenings free. I hate running early, so evenings are prime.

Miles so far this year: 24

Goals for next week:
– Run the full four runs, rather than combining them into longer runs, so I can get into a good training rhythm
– Continue with crosstraining
– Do yoga at least three days of the week
– Convert at least one shorter run into a speed workout

First run back (wherein I whine about not training)


Unfortunately, I did not wind up tracking down a treadmill or indoor track while in the land of Sarah Palin last week. Anywho, most gyms were closed, because it was a holiday week, and my family had only rented one car, which I was not allowed to drive (for nine of us, if you can believe it. We managed to function with it for about half the trip, until we decided to swap it out for a larger SUV on the day before my cousin’s wedding). We did, however, track down reindeer and ice sculptures galore! I also managed to read four books on the plane rides and our downtime (Moby Dick and the first three books of the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik) and started a fifth (Middlemarch). As result, the only exercise I got last week was tearing up the dance floor at the wedding.

Bad idea, especially when I went back on my first run last night.

I planned for a three miler: quick and painful, like ripping off a bandaid. I was absolutely right about the painful part.

Actually, I may be exaggerating just a bit. I definitely felt how my cadio had declined, but my legs felt okay, if a bit more easily fatigued than usual. My pace wasn’t terrible (for me) either. My Nike+ tells me I maintained a 10:29 mile, even with a few walk breaks. I did some yoga afterward to work out some of the kinks in my legs after I got home and refueled (almond milk is my new favorite recovery drink. So delicious!). Thinking about it, I’ve definitely had worse “return runs”: I’m specifically remembering my runs after the holidays last year after my grandmother died (talk about a combination of emotional and physical misery. There were some weepy and agonizing runs, let me tell you). Despite any frustration I have at the two week setback, therefore, I’m not terribly worried about jumping back into a training plan in the next week or so. I’m super happy to see that I’ve gained some overall fitness, even if I’ve slacked off a bit for the past few weeks. Here’s hoping I can get my base built back up before racing season kicks off again.

Side note:
– I’m considering training for the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, OH on May 7. This race will follow pretty hot on the heels of the Forget the PR Mohican 25K (which is actually 17 miles), so I’d probably wind up using a training program for a full marathon and taking the Mohican as either my longest or second longest runs. I’m thinking of possibly using the Hal Higdon Novice 1, although I may bump it up to Novice 2 if I’m feeling confident after the first few weeks of the program.