Well, if you haven’t noticed, winter is here and for runners who enjoy running outside, it means time for being prepared to put the miles in when the temperature many times is below freezing.
It’s also a time when track athletes used to get ready for the upcoming track season after finishing up with cross country last month.
For the most part, running during the winter outside in West Virginia is doable with the correct preparation before putting those miles in your logbook.
One of those runners who knows a lot about getting ready for those chilly runs is Robert Smith, owner of Robert’s Running and Walking Shop in Huntington and Charleston. Smith recently gave his thoughts about putting the miles in during winter.
“First off, it’s not bad for you,” Smith said. “The one thing about running in the cold is that people think it is bad for their health. That is so wrong, because, if you prepare correctly, it’s never too cold to run in this area. Nordic and cross country skiers train in the cold all the time and so can runners. You just have to have the discipline.”
Smith makes a good point about the discipline factor, and, many times, it’s just getting out the door to get things going. I have found the key for getting through a run in the cold is making sure the put the correct layers on and the running shop owner agrees, saying, “For the most part, runners and walkers just need to keep their layering pretty simple. The number one thing you can do is use a garment that wicks moisture as a base layer, so make sure whatever is against your skin doesn’t hold moisture and keeps you dry and work up from there.
“Next most important is that outer layer,” he said, “and it’s best to have something that blocks the wind, which will go a long way to keeping you warm.”
The thing I have always liked about stopping by one of his stores is, everyone in the shop loves running, and, when I have a question, I know they probably have experienced the situation as I have. Sometimes I have found after checking the temperature outside, I overdress for the run, and Smith explained to me that is not uncommon.
“One good thing about running in the cold, compared to running in the heat, is that you can’t escape the heat, and, if you find yourself getting to warm in a cold run, you can always shed a layer of clothing. Many times, I will just tie my outer layer around my waist when I have put one too many layers on for my run. At the end of the workout, if things start getting chilly again, you can always put that top back on again to get warm.”
Smith and my coaches have always said good shoes and socks are a key to any good run. For those cold workouts, Smith made it clear to me that your clothing foundation starts with your socks. “Depending on the season determines what type of sock I use. In the winter, I prefer a 100% wool blend, just because wool keeps you warmest and keeps you the coolest as far as materials go. I like to go with that little thicker sock, because I don’t like to have any part of my body ever get cold while I am running. It all starts from the ground up to have a fun run.”
The winter months are upon us, so that means with the correct planning and maybe a chat or two with the folks at Robert’s Running and Walking, everyone will enjoy putting the miles in, even on those cold days.
And finally this week, a Happy New Year, everyone!