Tag Archives: #yaktrax

Change of Season

26 Sep

We run repeats, get up at pre-dawn hours, create routes that are difficult, hilly, exhausting but necessary. We take care of our diet, watch our intake and output. We cross train and cross train some more. We rest … or something like it. All is planned and sacrificed  and measured for a goal: A time, a distance, a completion. But what happens when we reach that goal, surpass that distance, cross that finish line?


It’s a question most runners never consider and one I’ve often never thought of until this weekend. I realized, after o-pining about the lack of days left on calendar, that the days to get up and run in the early morning splendor and set goals I can devote more time than usual on are numbered … the weather will be changing.

As previously noted, I am not one who does well with change, even good. For this FGR, I’ve has some other goals in mind: 1-Get rid of some jiggle (checkish); 2-Increase my endurance through different types of cross training (check); 3- RELAX (checkish); 4- RUN FOR FUN (triple check).

But what now?

Is it time for a break? Shall I, perhaps, join the mall walkers and avoid the snow. Maybe I’ll take up T’ai chi?

A Woman does tai chi.

A Woman does tai chi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mostly because not all of my goals were met. In this season, I’ve been up crazy hills, killing myself, my quads, my will, and reestablishing my faith in them all (although, I  must note, I never lost faith in a hill once). I’ve fallen hard on my face, but gotten back up and had some time to heal, but learned durning that time. Running is like life–you do the best you can at the time with what you know. Strive for more, plan for more, do more when you can.

But what about when you can only do less?

I’m not often superstitious, but I do adhere to the Farmer’s Almanac, and if it’s as true as it’s always been, we are in for a doozy of a winter, which got me thinking of winter training.

Fall_Run-16-36-59Firstly, let’s not deny how nice it will be for as long as it will be–running in the fall is all too short of an interlude in heaven’s foyer, and it’s best done in a group or pair. All too often I find myself getting lost in the scenery and forgetting I have a time or milage to keep. There are also lots of fun runs around this time that celebrate the change of season! Listed below are just a few of the fun and festive runs you could possibly sign up for with a group or as a single (and get ready to mingle):

October–Zombie Run! 

As listed on the website…

Zombie Run is a 5K obstacle fun run for the end of times. But you’re not just running against the clock you are running from flesh-eating, virus-spreading, bloody zombies.

Zombie Run is advanced training for the coming Zombie Apocalypse. Participants will use speed, agility, and their intact brains to overcome obstacles and avoid flesh-eating Zombies.

Basic Survival

Before the race, you will be given a flag belt These flags represent your health.

  • The zombies want to take your flags and maybe eat your brains.
  • If you lose all your health flags, you die. And the zombies win.

What you are up against:

  • Throughout the 5K obstacle race, there will be a series of man-made and natural obstacles for you to complete.
  • There will be zombies. Their job is to chase you and eat you — but mainly go after your health, in the form of your flag belt. Avoid the zombies to keep your health flags.
  • Use speed, strategy and your intact brains to make it to the FINISH LINE “alive” with at least ONE FLAG INTACT and the serum-giving plant.. If you finish with zero health flags, this means the zombies have successfully transformed you into the “undead”.

How you will do it:

  • There will be a start line, and a finish line, but what happens in between is up to you. There are multiple routes to reach the finish. Choose wisely, or your 5k might turn into a 10k.

UM, can you think of anything more fun? Me neither. I know so many people who have done and LOVED this run. It might be the best one to start with if you’ve never done one.

From October to November, there are tons of harvest and fall themed runs, just celebrating the changing colors of the leaves. Not kidding. Some courses just survey beautiful areas and give back to the parks services. Look online to see if you can support a park near you.

Turkey Trot/Thanksgiving 5k:

Seriously, what could be better? I love running like a champion and then stuffing my face with yummy Thanksgiving day amazingness. It also counteracts my guilt when I allow myself a piece of pie. Also, the proceeds usually go to a food bank, church, or organization to help the local community in need or feed the hungry. And the SWAG! The shirts are the best and super cute! Who doesn’t love a running turkey in sneakers or a pilgrim in sneakers (or really anything with sneakers)?

2012_TurkeyTrot_WhiteBG2_0 (See!)

But then winter, and the snow on the ground, and the ice and slickness … yarg. My joints ache, and I get sore, and I feel both fat and old–worst combo ever. How to prepare, yet again, for this inevitable change?

Active.com has provided even the novice runner with fail safe tips:

Set a Specific Goal: There is nothing more motivating than to train for a race or specific goal. You can plan to run a 5K, half marathon or reach a number of miles every month. You’ll have instant motivation in knowing you have to train for the race or hit your target mileage. Reward yourself when you reach your goals, then set another one.

Run With a Buddy or Group: Make your workouts safe and social. You’ll have a built in motivational source, a friend to chat with along the way and it is safer to run in numbers. Running with others (or pets) is a great way to beat the winter doldrums. If that’s not enough motivation, reward yourself with a fun race destination like Arizona, Florida or even Mexico.

Accessorize: Having the right apparel makes all the difference in the world. Layering is the key to avoiding over- or under-dressing. Consider wearing a layer that blocks the wind; pants, tights and top that wick the moisture away from your skin; and, for the coldest days, a mid-layer that fits more loosely—like fleece—that insulates and moves the moisture from your base layer away from your skin.

Your winter running wardrobe should include a running jacket, hat or headband, gloves, tights and a few long-sleeve shirts. Your body temperature increases as you run, so you don’t need many layers in most winter conditions.


Remember that time Tom Coughlin thought he didn’t need winter weather gear … He froze.

Dress for 15 to 20 Degrees Warmer: Over-dressing is easy to do in winter running. Dressing for 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually is will allow your body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.

Run During Light and Warmer Times of Day: If possible, run during daylight hours so you can absorb that needed sunshine we rarely get in the winter. You’ll get your miles in during the warmest time of day and come back with a smile on your face.

Be Seen: If you run when it is dark out, wear a reflective vest or flashing lights so you’re seen by traffic. In snowy weather, wear bright clothing. Run with identification or a runner’s I.D. in your shoe or pocket—just in case.

Hit the Treadmill: When the weather gets bone-chillingly cold and icy, hit the treadmill. Treadmill running is a great way to stay fit and you’ll get in quality miles without risking an injury from slipping on ice.    [I know, I hate it too, but they make a great point.]

Gear Up: Wear trail shoes or a traction device like Yak Trax. They will give you better traction and stability in the snow. I used these to tackle the Antarctica Marathon and they worked really well on the snow and ice.

Note: Avoid wearing the Yak Trax indoors or on roads without snow. They’re portable enough to keep them in your pocket until you hit the snow.

Stay Low: Shorten your running stride and keep your feet lower to the ground. You will run more efficiently and reduce the risk of slipping, falling or straining muscles. Choose to run on fresh snow rather than ice or packed snow. You will get better traction on fresh snow and reduce the chance for slipping. Watch out for snow-covered cracks and holes in the road.   [Who knew!!!!!!]

Take Extra Time To Warm Up: Your body will warm up more slowly in cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Take at least five minutes to walk briskly before you start to run. It may take 10 to 15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo. Take a hot shower to pre-warm your muscles or put your clothes in the dryer on hot for a few minutes then head out for your run.

Hydrate: It is just as important to drink fluids in your winter runs as it is in the summer. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your runs to avoid dehydration. Use warm fluids in your water bottle or tuck it under your jacket to avoid freezing.

Start into the Wind: Start your run into the wind so you have the wind at your back on your way home. You’ll avoid getting chilled by the wind after you’ve been sweating.

Keep it Fun: Mix up your route, run through the neighborhood holiday lights or run a holiday race. It will get you outside and enjoying winter rather than cursing it.  (http://beta.active.com/running/Articles/Winter-Running-Tips)

As much as I hate change, one thing I’ve learned is there’s nothing I can do to stop it, so it’s best for all involved to be best prepared for it and enjoy it. Here’s the the short days ahead, the days where we leave one building in the dark and return to the other in the dark, and run on sheets of ice like misfit children gliding across a deserted frozen pond at night. winterrunning