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Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter (Outdoor) Running Made Easy

Here in Utah, it's chilly for about half the year. That makes continued training for triathlons kind of sketchy. I'm too much of a wuss to ride my bike in the snow and ice. Low temperatures and disgusting inversion smog make running outdoors somewhat daunting, too.

My coach Wes Johnson told me if I train through the winter, I'd be surprised how much time I'd take off when the triathlon season comes around again. He also told me to work on my weakest event during the winter. My weakest event is running. As much as I struggle with loving to run, I struggle even more when it involves a treadmill. The best part of running is moving through a neighborhood or on a quiet mountain path. Treadmill running doesn't lead you anywhere but on a sweaty, pounding monotonous journey to the check mark on your to-do list.

Here are two things I've found to make running outdoors in winter a bit easier:

PodRunner

This is a free download from iTunes that makes you run faster and maintain a consistent cadence. Each mix has about two minutes of the creator, Steve Boyett, talking about the mix —how fast it is (bpm) and why he chose it, but once you get past that, you'll be running at a good clip for up to an hour. I usually cut out at about 30-40 minutes because I'm typically strapped for time. Some mixes are better than others, so you kind of have to experiment. On the site you'll find  both great interval training podcasts and steady state podcasts.  Overall, it's a great way to train if you run by yourself. Make sure you pay attention and don't turn it up too load if you're running on city streets.

Cuddl Duds

Although the company touts these leggings and long sleeve shirts as a great base layer, I like them for running. If it's not too cold, you can wear them alone. The shirts have thumb holes which help to keep your hands toasty whether you wear gloves or not. Plus, the neck is cut higher than most running shirts, so your neck stays warm, too. The leggings are soft, breathable and uber-comfy.

Shirts and Legging: $28

Where to buy: Available at JC Penney, Kohl’s or online at www.cuddlduds.com


Disclaimer: Cuddl Duds has not paid me to endorse their product.


Other things that help? A goal to work towards. On my vision board, I have the words, "take 15 minutes off final time" for my sprint triathlons this season. The only way I'll be able to do that is by working on getting better and faster at running. I've got to learn how to work around the snow/smog/rain to get better.

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