Thursday, January 12, 2012


As you Brookings folks may have noticed, winter has arrived.  Winter is cold, dark, snowy, and really not that much fun.  I was really enjoying the "winter" until yesterday.  We did a workout in shorts and t-shirts... or less and were totally fine on Tuesday and Wednesday half the team ran inside.  I guess that's South Dakota winter for you.  As I write, the windchill is a blustery -15 and doesn't look to get above 0 until tomorrow afternoon.  I really hope I don't have to wait outside long to get into the USD basketball game!  Anyway... Here are a few tips that will help you get through winter fitter than ever:

1. Take a Vitamin D Supplement.  During the winter months we do not get nearly enough Vitamin D.  The reason for this is that the sun is further away from us, it is often obscured by snow-bearing clouds, and we spend less time outside with more clothes on.  Studies of professional track and field athletes find that they perform better at the end of their summer months.  This is the time where their training peaks and they have been exposed to Vitamin D the longest.  When looking for a supplement, get the biggest one possible.  The same study showed that what was previously thought to be %100 of daily value wasn't even close.  I have found that softgels work better than tablets.

2. Carefully plan your runs.  If you run outside, have someone drive you out so you can run with the wind.  The primary cause of cold in South Dakota is the wind.  It can turn a pleasant winter afternoon into a torturous one. If you don't have someone to drive you out or any inside place to run then you should always run into the wind first.  If you run with the wind first then turn around you will have sweated under your layers and it will be over!

3. If you do run inside there are certain precautions you must take.  First, while running inside you must be conscious of your body.  During a longer run inside your body is turning hundreds of times.  Take the curves wider and switch directions a few times per run if not more frequently.  Running inside may also require more stretching.

4. If you run on a treadmill, be sure to put the grade at %1 incline.  This will accurately reflect the effort needed to run your pace.  If it is set at no incline it will be too easy.  Also, if planning on using a treadmill, bring other shoes with you to run.  People get angry if you get their treadmill wet, sandy, etc.  Also, be prepared to be ridiculed if you choose to wear short shorts.  People are probably just jealous but they can still be mean.

5. Watch out for ice!  A slip can be a season ending injury!  Here is the story of a woman who had been running for 33+ years until she slipped and broke her ankle.  Ice Story  She wasn't running when this happened but it could happen while running.  Consistent running on slippery surfaces can also cause wear and tear injuries to any part of your legs, specifically the achilles tendon and calf muscles.  

6.  Snow is slow.  Some people go out for runs with the intent of running a certain pace.  Sometimes, in the winter, that has to go out the window.  Snow, ice, extra clothes, wind, and limited areas to run will make you run slower than planned with the same effort.  Run by perceived effort instead of actual time.

7. The days are shorter and it is much colder when the sun isn't up.  Plan accordingly!  If you do need to run in the dark wear reflective clothing and a light.

8. Don't get discouraged!  It is hard to get back into shape after long periods of time off so just don't get out of shape!

Thanks for reading and supporting my blogs!  If you have any questions, or want a certain topic covered let me know and I can do my best!

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