Happy healthy fall, y’all! Sunrise, sunset. Just as quickly as November began, it ends. And fall fades into winter. How can we make our transition to winter runs and workouts more gentle? And by falling I’m referring to the season in more of a gentle fade into winter. Yes, it’s true. Winter is coming. Snow is coming. Not immediately (for most of us) but soon.
One way of easing the transition is to move some workouts inside. If it’s too cold/windy outside (or unsafe conditions), move it to the treadmill or pool or indoor bike. Lift some weights. Slow down your pace if you stay outside if there are icy/snowy patches if it’s not safe to run fast on the running surface. Move the tougher, faster, more intense workouts inside. It’s a lot safer to do so. Safety first.
The lack of sunlight/daylight in winter is a special challenge, one that demands our immediate attention. What safety precautions do you have? Make a checklist. Headlamp? Yes. Is it charged? If not, charge it.
Do we have bright reflective gear and clothing? Test it. Check carefully because sometimes reflectivity can fade on certain clothing, gear, or shoes. If it is lacking, add some Brilliant Reflective safety strips. These allow us to be seen more easily by motorists and pedestrians. It is much better to take the safety steps now than having to pick up safety equipment when it is snowing or sleeting outside. How can you find Brilliant Reflective? Here’s a link: BrilliantReflective.com If you do try the Brilliant Reflective safety strips, please let me know what you think of it. It’s important that if you notice strips that are peeling off, make sure to reapply or replace strips that might wear out after being used for a while. We have a few on the dog leash that are beginning to peel.
Where is my reflectivity lacking in my clothing and gear? Test it in the dark with a flash camera. If it’s not flashing back at us, it needs attention. For example, my Road ID bracelet is losing its reflective strip. Eventually, I will replace it with a Brilliant Reflective safety strip once it peels off the bracelet.
It’s a good idea to wear spikes like Yaktrax or something similar. Yaktrax is my preference. Shorten your stride when it’s slippery: it makes us less likely to fall.
Do you wear a scarf when you run? Some runners like to look “cool” and that’s great as long as we don’t get sick from not taking precautions like that. I’ve started to wear the BuffUSA buffs and half-buffs as scarves and over my head/neck, adjusting them as needed. Winter is a common time for illness to spread so make sure you bundle up when the conditions require it.
Eat mindfully during winter. Yes, we all love comfort food but if it is too unhealthy or becomes a pattern to eat foods too high in sugar/fat, it’s tough to lose weight when we are trying to be healthy. It’s natural to add a few pounds here or there. Our bodies do that naturally to stay warm in winter. But don’t allow yourself to lose all your fitness gains just because it’s winter. It’s a lot easier to stay in shape year-round, allowing for natural rest and recovery days when needed.
Drink warm beverages. I love coffee and green tea. Soups are good too. So is chili. Hot oatmeal is wonderful for runners/athletes to stay healthy and reduce cholesterol. I try to eat some oatmeal daily, either as breakfast or mixed into my smoothies.
If you sense you aren’t well enough to run/workout, take a day or two off (or more if needed, especially if you are ill/injured). Our bodies need to recover and bounce back sometimes. Then we can return to our workout/fitness routine with more strength and resiliency.
Yes, many of us are doing the Runner’s World RunStreak, run-streaking from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. If we’re not well enough to run more than a mile (or tired), just run a mile. A mile base is adequate to sweat a little. Call it a recovery mile if that helps. Don’t overexert when the conditions suggest not to or our bodies say rest!
Be very careful of snow and ice. I remember my toughest fall ever a few years ago, being pulled by Misty on the leash when I fell and hit my ribs. It was icy. She slipped first, pulling me, forcing me to slip and fall too. If the weather is inclement, seriously consider moving the whole workout inside. It’s just not worth the risk. If we can prevent injuries through any reasonable means, we should do so. I prefer running outside too but I have designated treadmill days where that isn’t possible due to asthma and my sensitivity to cold weather. I learned my lesson from this hard fall to be a lot more cautious and careful to prevent it from happening again.
Shorten your workouts if needed, especially outdoors. Make sure to wear gloves (2 pair? if you wear thin underneath gloves this works) and enough pairs of socks (double socks when needed or at least wear compression socks or sleeves).
As the beauty of fall fades into the snowscape of winter, give safety, health and wellness some thought and reflection. Even if winter isn’t your favorite season, find something beautiful to enjoy about every day.
Farewell November! Where did you go? You vaninshed too quickly! But thank you for being warmer and balmier than normal. We appreciate that. Maybe December will be as kind.
Think warm thoughts. Sending warm wishes to you for a wonderful winter, happy healthy peaceful running friends!