A Cold Weather Run

Cottonwood TreeThe hardest part of a cold weather run is getting out of the door. I can feel the cold through the floor as I lie on the rug stretching. My muscles are tense in anticipation. I put on two shirts, a fleece top, two pairs of running tights, two socks, wind pants, and the fleece hat with the visor that covers my nose. I wrap the scarf around my neck and pull the jacket over my head. The hood goes up tightened so it won’t blow off. The shoes go on snug over the two pairs of socks. I go out the door, lock up, and put on the mittens. All the while, there is a voice in my mind trying to convince me that it would be much better to stay inside and read a book or go to sleep early.

The first mile, I feel the cold sneak past the layers. My muscles complain about the effort. By mile two, I start looking around to see what is going on and stop to take a sip from the water bottle. By mile three, I have forgotten the cold and I am deep into a conversation with myself. Among other things, running is my thinking time. I debate pros and cons and puzzle out problems. Tonight, I was debating whether to start writing this blog or not. I have been thinking about it for a while. I decided to give it a try and see how it goes. The plan is to write about running, what I have learned about being healthy, some stories, and other topics I find interesting.

By mile four, I was happy and singing softy to myself. I didn’t see anybody else out tonight. The temperature was in the middle 20s with the wind around 10 mph. I could barely see the stars through clouds. Now, the running clothes are washed and hanging on the drying rack. I’m headed to sleep, but first, I have to rub some deep tissue ointment on my calves. The cold weather has made them extra tight.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and runner
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4 Responses to A Cold Weather Run

  1. Shady_Grady says:

    When it’s cold do you ever decide to use elliptical, stationary bike, spinner or stair stepper? Do you find those machines give you the same workout as running?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady πŸ™‚
      There are two times I have tried to use an exercise machine. The first was in high school. My Dad bought a stand that we put my regular bike in so it could be a stationary bike. To be honest, I found it extremely tedious and hard to work up a good sweat for a long enough time. The second was that I bought myself a small stair stepper. I guess it was called a mini stair stepper because it was just peddles that you stood on and moved up and down. There wasn’t anything to hold onto. I couldn’t get myself to do that enough to work up a good sweat either. It was like motion without action or unrelieved pressure. Hard to explain. I gave it away πŸ™‚
      I haven’t tried running on a treadmill because I don’t like going to gyms. I find that the bright lights, television noise, and general commotion makes me tense. It is the same with shopping malls or airports or even the local big box store. And for some reason, I am a really restless person. I want the part of the exercise that means I’m moving from one place to another and seeing the scenery in between. I have had some success with jump roping. I got the jump rope out when it turned colder and washed off one of my barefoot running shoes so that I can jump rope for a while when I first get up. I can work up a sweat that way and it seems to require enough concentration to avoid hitting my feet with the rope to keep me from getting bored πŸ™‚ I seem to recall you saying once you had trouble with your knees and jump roping (like running) probably isn’t the thing for that. I think it comes down to two things (a) being able to do whatever it is hard enough to work up a sweat and (b) having whatever it is be a relaxing experience. Have you tried the exercise machines? What do you find works?

      My next experiment with exercise is this bar I bought a while back to put over the door so I can do exercises to strengthen my arms and upper body. I am not going to say how long the box has been sitting in the closet waiting for me to put it together. It has been a while. My ideas usually out pace time by a good bit. It has been on the list for the last couple of weekends, though, and maybe I will get to it this weekend.

      • Shady_Grady says:

        Unfortunately b/c of knee issues and an arthroscopy that didn’t go quite right I can’t really run like I used to any more. I was never a big runner but I did like to play basketball a LOT as well as go on 2-3 mile runs on weekends. Those days are gone like the wind. The impact is too much for my knees. I have to save the cartilage that I have.
        So I can only use the machines for aerobic workouts..well besides taking dog on long walks. I don’t really like the bicycle because it’s too boring. But I do like the ellipitical machines and the stair stepper, which seems to give a more intense workout.

        My plan for the new year is to go on much longer walks. My understanding is that after 2-3 miles the aerobic benefits are about the same as running. Is that correct?

        • Sarah says:

          Curiously, I didn’t see a “reply” button on your last comment so I am going to try replying by email. It is early days here and I haven’t figure out how everything works πŸ™‚

          I had to look up arthroscopy. Ouch. It sounds painful. I can’t comment scientifically on comparisons between walking and running for aerobic benefit. I know that it takes about an hour and a half to two hours of walking for me to feel the same kind of benefit I would from a 3 mile run. I used to keep track of all kinds of things like calories eaten and miles run at what speed. This was in an attempt to see how much I needed to do or not do in order to lose weight. I can’t say that it was easy to see a correlation. My current thinking from my own experience goes like this. If you are eating food your body can easily digest and for which it has no adverse reactions, then eating the minimum you can without being too hungry in addition to a reasonable amount of exercise will lead the body to find its preferred weight and maximize your energy. I think energy level, in particular, is a good indicator of overall health. This, of course, is all very fuzzy and it requires taking the time to listen to your body. Assuming that you are eating food your body finds okay, then one way you can find out what is a reasonable amount of walking for you would be to take a couple of days where you have time to spare like on the weekend or holidays and walk on each of them for as long as you can without being too tired (and your knee hurting). I don’t know what this would be one, two, three or maybe more hours depending on your fitness level. See how you feel afterwards. Are you relaxed? Do you feel noticeably happier? It might not satisfy the need for precision and numbers, but how you honestly feel afterward physically and emotionally is a good measure of both the kind and amount of exercise that is right for you. Another measure is how well you are sleeping at night. If you can go to bed and fall right asleep that is a good indication that you are getting enough exercise. I would add that although it might not seem like it is necessary it is a good idea to have a stretching routine you do at some point in the day. It doesn’t have to be at the time of the walking. This is especially true as one gets older πŸ™‚

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