Hi everyone, this is Cesar. When I started We Are NYC RC I was excited to just meet friends who were runners. As a result some of these runners have become valuable sources of knowledge for me. So allow me to introduce you to one such runner in my club, Carlo F. This guy has improved in leaps and bounds and yet he is always willing to share the secrets of his success. Today I wanted to introduce Carlo who will be contributing to this site from time to time. You can follow Carlo on Instagram at @clo_runs !
To some, winter means treadmills and indoor cycling while for others, winter can be a wonderland full of countless adventures. But you may not realize that outdoor winter running (and winter training in general) provides many benefits, such as:
1. Promotes Weight Loss – When it’s cold, you start shivering because muscle movement helps heat up the body. So we actually use more energy during winter running as the body has to work harder to provide us warmth. This helps work off the gains during a time when it’s easier to stay indoors than to go out for a workout.
2. Improves Your Cardiovascular System – Running in the winter strengthens your heart & lungs as they have to work harder to provide the body with oxygenated blood since it becomes less easy to breathe (due to the cold air reducing the body’s air flow) and maintains the body’s core temperature.
3. Strengthens Your Immune System – When your body’s immune system is exposed to the cold, it is enhanced to fight inflections. Staying active during the winter is your best defense against cold and seasonal flu. In addition, the cold air acts like a natural ice pack to decrease inflammation, an in turn your joints will feel less sore after a winter run.
4. Build Mental Fortitude – By encouraging yourself to embrace the cold instead of staying indoors, you are pushing yourself to break those mental barriers that can hinder your progress. Plus, you’ll have run through some of the toughest, hardest and least enjoyable conditions imaginable and that will give you the confidence to tackle a new season of running when spring comes along.
5. Improves Physical Endurance – Your muscles will need to adapt to uneven and slick terrain. Whenever you attempt to walk across such a surface, every muscle in your body is working hard not to lose balance, thus becoming stronger, more responsive and more resilient in the process.
6. Less Crowded. During the winter, Central Park is almost a Ghost Town. There will be fewer people out. And for the ladies, this also means less cat-callers during the season.
7. Running in the Cold is Easier – you do not have to worry about sweat and dehydration. The colder the weather, the less heat stress on the body. Soon you will realize it feels easier to hold your 10K pace during the winter as opposed to during the summer.
Winter is the Best Time to Work on Yourself – Because there are less races and less people. This is the best time to focus on your weaknesses and turning them into strengths as well as trying out new things that you may have wanted but couldn’t find the time. You want this to be a period where you are able to gain the necessary fitness to tackle a new challenge or an upcoming training program.
Possible areas you may want to improve: Cadence, Core Stability, Running Form, Upper Body Strength, Aerobic Base (High Mileage @ Easy Pace), etc.
Possible things you may want to try: Heart-Rate Based Training, Spinning, Pilates, Yoga, CrossFit, Jump-Rope, Weight-Lifting, Running Drills, other Fitness classes, etc.
When it comes to Winter Running, the most important part is the layers you wear. This website, brought to you by Shape Magazine, shows what winter gear you should have at your disposal as well as a guide to what to wear at what temperature. However if your easy pace (in miles) is faster than 9-minute, you may have to adjust accordingly, as the faster you run, the more heat you generate.
In addition, some of you may not realize but there are indeed sneakers made for winter running (snow/ice/rain). Last year, I wore Mizuno Wave Rider 20 GTX exclusively during the winter. I recently purchased the Saucony Peregrine 8 Ice+. There’s also the Brooks Ghost 11 GTX. You can either research or reach out to your preferred brand(s) for sneaker recommendations for winter/cold weather running.
You can also purchase Snow & Ice Traction Cleats (such as Yaktrax). They are used to avoid sliding on slippery surfaces like ice and snow, as they are attached to footwear with either rubber straps on the heel and toes that covers the whole sole or a single strip over the foot.
You can even take it a step further by installing spikes on the bottom of your sneakers to act as cleats (DIY Traction). This would be the cheapest option and would advise to do on a pair of your least favorite sneakers.
Running during the winter has its dangers that you have to watch out such as hypothermia, frostbite, knee pain & lower leg injury (if you’re not working on your core, hip mobility & flexibility). Of course, if the weather conditions are too bad, please use the treadmill. 🙏
Good luck on training everyone!