Welcome To Winter . . . Yes, No, Maybe?
Welcome to Winter . . . Yes, No, Maybe?
By Dan Van Veen
I believe this year there were reports of snow in Montana in September and in late October in Texas, so what in the world is November going to hold for us – especially those who live a tad bit closer to Canada than say . . . southwest Missouri?
Well, I guess I’m not thinking my area of the country is going to be granted any special favors as there is a possibility of snow here before Halloween. So, what does this weather mean for runners?
There are several scenarios that we’re going to talk about here.
Colder Than Usual BUT Calm — There’s real opportunity for personal best times with weather like this. The key to racing in this kind of weather is wearing layers to the start line. What really hurts a lot of runners is that they warm-up, get all prepped for the start of race, get to the starting line and then . . . . stand . . . and stand. If you’re not near the front, you could possibly be standing significantly longer in large races. Your muscles tighten, your sweat dries, you start to get cold . . . and instead of starting ready to run, you spend the first mile (miles) simply trying to get warm and run smoothly. So, I recommend wearing loose layers that you can dispose of and not necessarily miss if you never see them again. Having one close-fitting wicking shirt covered by a looser layer, then you’re “disposable” layers really help insulate you and keep you warm – far longer than warming up in a T-shirt and then trying to keep warm by wasting energy jumping and swinging your arms! As you warm-up, discard a layer (or discard as many layers as you feel is good when the race begins).
Cold AND Windy. Unfortunately, fall typically comes with plenty of windy days and with the temps seeming to be a bit cooler than normal this year, the windchill could be relatively brutal for this time of the year. If this happens, keep this thought in mind: acclimation. Dress like you would when real winter weather hits (tights, numerous layers, gloves, hat, neck gator, etc.). It probably won’t be long until you reduce the layers (a few runs) as your body acclimates to the conditions, but there’s nothing wrong with pulling out the heavyweight tights and turtleneck layers when the weather turns suddenly much colder than usual. As far as racing in these conditions, find a pack of people or a larger person you can duck in behind and let them cut the wind a bit for you . . . even if it only reduces the impact of the wind by 2 or 3 miles per hour, that’s still that much LESS energy you’re going to have to use.
All Over the Place. What I expect will happen this fall are temperatures and windchills are going to be up, down, and all around. A mixture of surprisingly warm weather for a few days, then wet and nasty, then cold with snow and/or ice then back to warm and cold again and the wind showing up at the worst times. With weather like this, for some reason, it seems to breed colds – colds hurt lung capacity and even your desire to run (as rarely do people sleep well with a cold). So, I’m going to suggest if you ever have even a hint of a cold starting, start on a daily dose of vitamin C and Zinc. The combination really seems to fight colds, but don’t wait until your nose is a faucet and your hacking and coughing; this protection works BEST if taken at the very first signs. As far as running is concerned, it means you can’t pack away your summer gear and you need to have your winter gear out already. You also need to monitor weather conditions like a hawk as right now especially temps can differ drastically from one day to the next and from one county to the next . . . it also means, if you drive to meet people to run, bring along a duffel bag with additional gear just in case the weather person you watch gets it wrong . . . not that the weather prognosticators EVER get it wrong. : )
Okay, enough for today. Become a weather guru and maybe make a stop at a local thrift store and purchase some items for race days that you don’t mind discarding (typically, in bigger races, they end up right back at the thrift store).
Have an awesome run today!
Got a question for Dan? He might just have some answers for you. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .