January 26, 2014

Winter's grip is very tough on runners

Upcoming races include the Shamrock 5K in Logansport.

Mark Shorter Running columnist

---- — After all the snow, I hear many people complaining that they are tired of all the snow and cold weather. They are hoping for an early spring.

As runners and walkers, we realize that the local races will begin when March arrives. So we must begin to prepare for another season.

Are you going to participate in a half-marathon, marathon, or triathlon this year? Preparations for these events begin early. There are many publications that have training programs for those events.

In the meantime, we are faced with snow and cold. And admittedly it can be very difficult to try to train when we hear the weatherman tell us that the temperature is 5 below zero and with the windchill is 22 degrees below zero.

As we train during the winter, there are many things to remember. Always hydrate; just because it is cold, it does not mean our bodies do not require liquids when we run. Be careful where you run; that snow pile may be covering ice or a hole. Dress in layers, wear a hat and cover your ears (hopefully all the women read those words), and wear gloves (mittens are better or both when really cold).

Wear a ski mask to cover as much of your face as you can and put petroleum jelly on the exposed parts. Wear socks (in really cold weather I wear 2 pairs one short, one long) and try to keep your feet dry. This can be difficult when you are running or walking through snow.

If possible, try to run or walk during the warmest part of the day.

This has been rather difficult lately. Run into the wind at the beginning of your run and with the wind at your back on the return trip. Remember that vehicles cannot stop quickly on snow or ice and neither can you. Watch your footing; try to stay upright. I prefer to run in an inch of snow rather than on ice. I always remind myself each winter that my goal is to maintain what I had in the fall and not to do speedwork until spring once the weather has warmed up and stays warm.

Since our weather for most of the past three weeks has been cold and windy, remember it is OK to cross-train and stay inside to lift weights (light weights with several repetitions) or swim or maybe try an aerobics class or a spin class or run/walk on a treadmill. Whatever you do, do not stop exercising.

See you on the roads.

Upcoming area races:

March 8 — Old Ben IUK Alumni 5k run and 5K walk, Highland Park, Kokomo

March 15 — 4th Annual Shamrock 5K, Logansport YMCA

March 15 — Norris Insurance 5K, Amboy

April 5 — Club Kokomo Roadrunners Ultimate Challenge 10m run, 5m run, 5m walk, Tierney Warehouse, Cliff Dr., Logansport