WHAT I LEARNT FROM RUNNING THE CENTRAL PARK WINTER HALF MARATHON
Another one in the books!!!!
I signed up for the Central Park Half Marathon because I had lost my mojo. I needed it back from the vacation it had taken. As soon as I signed up, I started at my race confirmation email wondering what I had gotten into. It freaked me out!! This was last September and since misery loves company, I got my Fit fam to sign up.
I have trained for a half marathon in the winter, never have I participated in one. Until now.
Half marathons especially in the winter are not for the faint of heart. It is daunting. Apart from the mileage you have to deal with the frigid temperatures and short daylight hours. Despite these factors, I enjoyed my training. Yes, I know that sounds strange but I found it eerily beautiful. Winter mornings are extremely beautiful, while everyone is asleep, I would wake up -begrudgingly I should add- but as soon as I had my running gear on, I was set. The park by my neighborhood is surrounded by water, frozen, it looked like an unfinished painting, with the bridge standing out against the morning fog. I would run past naked winter trees, colorless grass stiffened with frost, empty trails, gray skies with no horizons. Occasionally, I would meet a fellow runner or an older couple brisk walking, we would nod at each other then continue with our morning activity.
I have always wondered what other runners thought about when on the trail. Personally, I come up with a lot of ideas when pounding the pavement. The next blog story, shoot location, what to create, a dilemma I had gets solved all while running through cold air and hushed beauty.
Apart from being captivated by winter's beauty while spotting a few squirrels here and there, winter running whips you in shape and ensures that Spring running will be a breeze. I do not know if running in the winter is something you would enjoy but I figured I should share a few things I picked up during my training.
1. Proper shoes. This is mandatory. You can't log mileage in cute sketcher shoes. You will injure yourself. Stop by a running store, it's the best thing you will do for your feet.
2. Winter running gear. - Pants, jacket, socks, the whole nine. It is a tad bit pricey, but absolutely worth it. I saw a quote at the Under Armour store recently that stated, "There is no such things as bad weather, only bad clothes." Nowadays, they have light weight infra-red pants and tops that keep you warm using your body heat. No need to dress like an Eskimo.
3. It's not about speed. - Since you are dealing with harsh winter element, forget your speed. Just run at a pace you enjoy. This will make the running less tedious. My comfortable running pace is 10 min per mile so while using my Endomondo running app, I can be able to pace myself. There times when I found myself running a quick 9 minute mile since I was enjoying the music and I would have to tone it down a notch.
4. Ears and hands - In frigid temperatures, excessive heat loss gets lost through your hands and ears this makes the run very uncomfortable. Ensure your ears and fingers are sufficiently covered. Grab the beanies and gloves.
5. Warm up.- Jumping jacks get my heart racing and my body ready for my long run. Super important.
6. Change as soon as you are done. The body temperatures drop as soon as you are done with your run. Chilling in wet clothes is recipe for disaster.
7. Yoga is your friend - I know I am starting to sound like a broken record but the benefits of yoga are endless. I did hot yoga on one day a week to sooth the muscles and aid in recovery, plus stretching in a heated room made my body feel amaaaazing!!!!! You do not have to do hot yoga but incorporate a serious stretching session regularly. Your body will thank you and your legs will show you love out there on the trail.
8. Loop in your friends - I stated misery loves company earlier, that is why I had to get accountability partners to support me on days I really wanted to cuddle with the blankets and ditch my running shoes. A support system is so important, I do not think I would have been able to finish my Half Marathon without my amazing Fit Fam.
9. Charge up - Make sure your phone is charged up on the trail. To log in the miles, listen to music and also for those emergency calls. You never know.
10. Stay safe and have fun. - In as much as I freaked out in the beginning. I enjoyed running in the winter. It is something I would definitely do again. You do no not realize how much you can accomplish until you actually do it!