Saturday, April 17, 2010

Running all year round

I live in a place with extreme seasons - winter is cold, summer is hot, fall and spring can go either way.

It's the kind of place where to be a "real" runner, you have to run all year round.

But I'm a bit of a wimp.

Don't get me wrong - I don't love running in the heat, either. But I prefer hot to really cold. And really, I prefer running outdoors in moderate or cool weather. So I have a few strategies to be able to run all year round.

1. Love your treadmill
There's nothing shameful about running on a treadmill. Running indoors means you avoid bad weather (hey, my iPod hates the rain) and it's safer, too, if that's a problem for you. It's also easier on your body if you're increasing distance - so you're less likely to get injured. I like to combine indoor and outdoor runs through the week in the spring so I don't overdo things on my shins.

2. Plan ahead
Check the weather forecast, and plan accordingly. If you hate running in the wind and Tuesday's going to be really windy, then run on Wednesday instead.

3. Vary time of day
In the winter, I prefer to run when it's light out, and warmer - ie closer to the middle of the day (which is hard when you have a day job, but easy on the weekends). As the weather gets warmer, I move my runs earlier and later. By mid summer, running right after work is a terrible idea - the smog is bad and it's hot and humid. So I tend to do more morning runs in the hot part of the summer.

4. Dress right
I have an awesome pair of Lululemon arm warmers that seem kind of superfluous, but are perfect if, like me, your temperature changes fast. I heat up too fast for gloves (and who wants to carry them?) but I'm always chilly at the start. These are convertible, which is great.

What do you do to keep running despite the elements?

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