The alarm goes off at the usual 6 ‘o’ clock. You peer out of the quilt and steal a glance at the window. Still dark outside. You hit snooze and lay deliberating within the warm cocoon. Should the training session be postponed for later?! The mobile phone buzzes again, shaking you out of the slumber. The goal list, pinned to the night stand, shines out. Resolute, you jump out of bed. Weak or cold, no more.
A seasoned runner would realise the importance of training in winters. Getting up and out on the track early in the morning is an absolute imperative.
Kieren D’souza, an ultrarunner believes that discipline is the core of any training, but the fact we are serious doesn’t exempt us from having fun, if we don’t enjoy the training, we wouldn’t like going out.
Don’t let winter’s doldrums keep you from enjoying a run in the brisk weather. Believe it or not, cold weather is actually the ideal condition for your run. Calorie burnout is relatively higher than usual as the body fights to maintain a stable core temperature.
There are many mental benefits to running as well. It not only relaxes the mind but also sets a productive and energetic tone to the day. Although running seems fairly easy to begin yet it’s hard to maintain. The first week is always the toughest, the mind will play games and the comfort of the bed makes us more vulnerable. But it is said, if we do something for 21 days, there are more chances of us sticking around for long term.”
However, stepping into the cold and damp morning air straight out of bed is not advisable. Dedicating a few minutes to vigorous exercises, such as jumping jacks, that can be done within the house may be useful to warm up the system. The importance of reflective wear and blinkers in keeping out of harm’s way, while it’s still dark, cannot be understated. On the way back, a gradual cool down is key to avoid a sudden drop in body temperature. Additional clothing may be utilised to keep warm even post workout.
Clothing is another important aspect that must be paid attention to. Wearing proper gears helps, they propel you have more control over your training. India’s wide geographical expanse harbors a variety of climatic conditions throughout seasons. Temperature down south may not be as freezing as in the valleys of Himachal. Hence, a single rule of thumb cannot be applied while choosing running wear.
Typically, a combination of 2-3 layers works well. The base layer should wick moisture and trap body heat close to the skin aiding thermoregulation. The mid layer should be thermoregulating as well. The outer layer should fulfill the dual purpose of being wind and water repellant along with being breathable. The primary layer for bottom should be thermoregulating and, wind and water repellant. An extra pair of shorts may be worn over the core layer to provide additional warmth.
In the slurry trails of old Manali Kieren chooses to wear water resistant socks which works around the clock. He also recommends mixing different outdoor sports and to stick to the schedule.
Few tips to keep you motivated when for your daily runs:
- Put your clothes and shoes by the door. It makes it easier to hit the road without much excuses.
- Pick a specific time. Book a slot in your busy diary, and go out. Early mornings are preferred but some like it in the soft moon light.
- Have a running partner. As the saying goes, “Two is better than one”
- Carry a running playlist. Set up your playlist the night before. Maybe add those new artists you always wanted to listen.
- Listen to a podcast. Things you always wanted to read about but never had the time to. They come in all sorts of interesting topics, and books read out by philosophers, writers, journalists.
In case you are searching for a pill to get you to your running goals or even magically improve your mile time without putting in the work, it’s time to sober up. Training smart, working hard, and eating right is the only way. Here’s a running essentials guide to help you ace your running game.
When you draft your training schedule this winter, do bear in mind that consistency and gradual increase in load are the keys to the success of any plan. The adversities and challenges tackled on the track or trail will only make you stronger. While the ones who weren’t brave enough to give up the comfort of their beds are rusty in the spring, you’d surely find acing races and personal goals a cake walk!
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