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Christmas Season Runs – A Blog by Trainer Dan Van Veen

Christmas Season Runs

Today I had my first colder weather run — 20 degrees with a windchill down into the teens. No, it’s not anything like it will be come January or so, but it was a bit new feeling that bite of air in my lungs and hoping my toes would warm up soon. : )

At the time I’m writing this, I’m looking forward to a Turkey Trot 5-mile run in Wisconsin. Who knows what the weather will be like for that run, but I’m looking forward to it no matter what the temperature…just hoping it’s not freezing rain or something nasty like that! : )

So, what’s my point? Well, Turkey Trots and Christmas runs are the MOST AWESOME runs because typically they’re well attended and due to that, it’s really, really hard to set a PR in one of those runs. Soooo, instead, I want to encourage you all to find runs during the Christmas season (all the way through the New Year) and just run. Don’t push yourself for a PR, just run a steady pace… maybe even run it as tempo run or a “fartlek” (easy hard easy hard) training run. Talk to people near you…give kids on the side of the road a “high five”…if you see someone on the side of the road cheering who you know, maybe even pull over and say “hi.”

What’s the point? The point is, we spend a lot of time training for runs, pointing at specific races to do well in, pushing ourselves, pushing the pace, feeling like our lungs are going to rip and legs are going to fall off… it’s okay to have races like that, but it’s even more important to have races that you just have a great time in. That you finish feeling good, that you make good memories, that you allow the race to refresh your love for racing and running.

Because you know, January will soon be here and guess what? For those of you doing spring marathons, training starts either towards the end of December or early January (April marathon)…for those looking for a March marathon, well…let’s just say that you can mix in fun runs with your marathon training! : )

Finally, a few tips for cold-weather running: Keep your neck covered (I often use a headband around my neck); keep your ears covered (especially if it’s windy); keep the soles of your feet from cracking by putting vaseline on them before runs (mine always get so dry that they tend to crack and bleed if I don’t); stay hydrated…cold typically means lower humidity…so it’s like you’re running in Phoenix (you know, it’s a “dry heat”) only this is a dry cold…so, don’t skip out on the liquids; wear layers…I like wearing a close, tight first layer; a slightly looser second layer; and then a final “heat capturing” outer layer that is quite a bit looser…and if it’s windy, I’ll put a wind vest over the top of that; of course, wear mittens or gloves…thin layer of vaseline will help keep them warmer…though I have heard of people putting those hand warmers into their gloves…I’ve never tried it cuz I’m thinking my hands would sweat like crazy, but I guess if it was super cold, they would come in handy (if you live in an area that might be super cold, a family pack of those hand warmers are something you could put on your Christmas wish list! : )

Well, that’s all for now. Enjoy your Christmas Season runs, have fun, and go out of your way to make someone feel good every day! : )

Have an awesome run today!

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