My plan for Saturday was to wake up early and go for a long run with my boyfriend around 8:30am. What actually happened was: we woke up around 9; my boyfriend took one look at the single digit windchill and backed out of the run; and i spent the next hour making excuses why it’d be OK for me to skip the run too. After much encouragement and not-so-gentle reminders that I have a half marathon to run in two weeks, I finally put on my fleece lined tights, two pairs of socks, a t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, jacket, fleecy Buff, two pairs of gloves, and a hat and headed out the door.
Unlike Katie, who was inspired by the cold to run like the (freezing) wind, I had a CRAPPY run. I felt slow and heavy for all 9.5 miles. Just last week I had run 8.5 and felt like a million bucks the whole time, so I was surprised to find myself so tired after only 4 miles that I considered cutting it short. It didn’t help that after about 2 miles my iphone cut out, giving me a message that it was too hot (I think my phone had hypothermia), leaving me with nothing to listen to.
There were probably a few reasons why my run was more difficult than last weeks, but when I got home I found this article by Matt Johnson from The Runner Academy website which gave some really good insight as to why this cold run might have been so challenging.
1. At colder temperatures the muscle contractions in our legs are less intense which will slow you down. I think next cold run, I’ll give myself a longer warm up to try to combat this, but I also just have to be cool with having a slower run.
2. When it’s cold your body uses more carbs for energy, so you may poop out sooner. I totally forgot to eat my nutrition until 70 minutes in, so that didn’t help matters!
3. Because you’re using more carbs, your body is producing more lactic acid. This was probably part of why my legs felt so heavy, although running with heavier tights and two pairs of socks may have been part of it too.
4. I feel stupid about this one – you still need to hydrate just as much in the cold. I am super bad about this. If I’m not sweating, I don’t think about hydration as much. I probably drank less than 8oz of water on my whole run. Then I promptly went and got a large coffee from Dunkin Donuts. As Katie says: you’ve got to hydrate or die, and I was totally dying a few hours later when I got hit with a bad headache which I’m sure was a result of there being like zero water left in my body.
So, my run was crappy, but I got the miles in and learned a few things about cold weather running. I’m training in doors this week because I’m a wimp (it’s a low of 17 today!), but I’ll be back out this coming Saturday to try to get in 10 miles. This time I’ll bring an extra pair of mittens for my iphone!