Thursday, December 12, 2013

Five Reasons to Run Outdoors this Winter

Five Reasons to Run Outdoors this Winter.

       1.   You Don’t Get Hot
The first and most obvious benefit to running outside in the winter is that you aren’t likely to overheat. Because of this, winter running is actually somewhat easier. Heat and humidity slow you down and can make you want to stop running before your planned mileage is up. Even in the gym, the air can get sticky. But outside in the fresh air you can maintain a comfortable temperature for a long time with just a couple of moisture wicking layers on.

       2.     It Builds Mental and Physical Toughness
Pulling on the gear and heading out into the 20 degree day can be a hard thing to do when your house is (and your toes are) nice and warm. Not to mention the fact that there’s dirty snow on the ground, the trees are nothing to look at and your running partners have all disappeared.  We’ve talked about suppressing the lizard brain – the voice in you head that tells you – “I can’t”; well, this is a good time to learn how to quiet your lizard brain.
Running in the cold improves your physical endurance; the intense weather can program your body to operate better in adverse conditions, thereby increasing your stamina. Also, you’ll get used to the cold after awhile, and the increase in blood circulation can keep you warmer while you’re at rest. Learn to love racking up miles out in the chilly tundra, and you’ll become a much stronger runner.

3.     It Curbs the Winter Blues
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) gets to a fair amount of us, especially after the holidays are over. But even if you don’t get the winter blues, a dose of fresh air and sunshine is good for you. It can boost your mood and keep you motivated while everyone else is sleeping late and complaining about the snow.

4.     Keeps You in “Movie Star” Shape
The term “bathing suit season” was coined for a reason: most everyone spends the spring and summer on some diet trying to lose the winter weight and regain their shape. But you don’t have to let the colder months turn you into a lazy pile of mush.
You can stay motivated and challenged all winter long by keeping up on those outdoor miles. Your swimsuit will thank you. So ask for some running gloves and a neck-warming gaiter for the holidays, and run outdoors this winter. You might even surprise yourself and find that you love it.

5.     Positions You to Reach Your Personal Best For the RUN OF THE MILL!!!
Athletes not in a winter or spring sport rapidly lose their stamina, endurance, and strength if they stop working out and do nothing.  The benefit of winter outdoor running is the maintenance of your level of fitness.  The goal should be to maintain your fitness so that you are ready for THE BIGGEST RACE OF THE YEAR.   Just maintaining your fitness level puts you ahead and will undoubtedly lead you to unprecedented personal best times in our small town race.

It is important for athletes not in a winter sport or in a low-cardiovascular spring sport (such as golf or baseball) to try and fit in runs when you can, otherwise your performance will go backwards or your improvements at best will be minimal.

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