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Winter running can be brutal or exhilarating

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The official start of winter is December 21, 2013. Running in the winter can be brutal or exhilarating. There are brutal days with driving cold wind, rain, sleet and snow. There are also sunny bright days with the sun warming you up as you go down your favorite path. It can also be treacherous with icy conditions making for the risk of slips and falls.

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But don’t let the weather get you down or provide an excuse not to get out and run. Running on an indoor treadmill can help but there is nothing like getting outdoors and enjoying some fresh air. Treadmills get the label “dreadmills” as they can be boring and monotonous. And when you run on a treadmill you invariably change your stride and form which creates the conditions for an injury.

Here are some simple tips to help get out and run this winter.

Clothing:

On those cold days wear a hat which covers the ears. You lose a lot of body heat from the head and it is important to keep it covered to keep in the heat.

Wear mittens rather than gloves. Mittens keep your fingers warmer than regular gloves. When it is really cold wear gloves and then put mittens over the gloves.

Wear layers and don’t over dress. A wicking shirt as an under layer helps keep moisture away from the body. Put another shirt over that and on real cold days wear a light (unlined) windbreaker. Wearing tights are popular but the looser fitting ones are actually warmer.

Don’t wear cotton socks. Wear the moisture “cool max” or equivalent type as they will help keep your feet dry.

When running at night wear reflective clothing or a flashing light for visibility.

During the day wear your sun block. The winter sun can be strong and cause damage to your skin as well as increase the risk of skin cancers.

Running routes:

On windy days try to run against the wind on the way out. It will be tough going out but you will be rewarded on the return. There is nothing worse than having to turn around and battle the wind after breezing through a bunch of miles with the wind at your back.

Always run against the traffic – on the left hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic.

Find a lighted path to run in the evening when it is dark such as the local boardwalks.

On cold windy days running some trails in the woods really makes a big difference as it breaks the wind.

And the best way to stay motivated through the winter is to run with some friends or a group. When a friend or group is waiting there is a much better chance you will not find an excuse not to run on that cold, windy night.

And start thinking about your 2014 running New Year’s resolutions. It will be a great time to make a resolution to maybe run your first half marathon or set a PR at a half. The program below will keep you motivated and help you meet that resolution.

Saturday, January 4, Half Marathon Training Program Starts, Asbury Park – Belmar area.

Lots of upcoming events can be found on The Race Calendar to include more holiday themed events.

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