By Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com
Winter can pose many additional challenges for runners. Poor air quality and cold temperature can drive asthmatic runners indoors or to travel to higher elevations to get out of the inversion. Obviously breathing bad air can pose health risks so it’s important to check and see if levels are safe to exercise in. To check air quality in your area visit airnow.gov. Some people opt to run outdoor with masks however often complain of having a hard time getting enough air exchange and the condensation in the mask can be annoying. I suggest taking the workout indoors if the air quality is bad. Treadmills can have many benefits this time of year. Not only do they provide a more giving surface and they obviously don’t have the concerns of slipping. It’s convenient and allows bathroom breaks if needed. It is also easy to set a pace and just hold that pace on the treadmill. While it can feel like a “hamster wheel” to some it offers safety from traffic and can be done any time of day or night. I know many young mothers with small children that utilize a treadmill extensively; however, I often caution them when they start running outdoors more in the spring to do it gradually to allow the body time to adapt to harder surfaces.
If you really struggle with indoor or “dreadmill” running, I suggest cross-training on bad air quality days. Indoor cycling and swimming can have many benefits for runners and challenge the body in different ways. I always like to suggest yoga for my runners and triathletes as well. This is great for recovery and flexibility. Don’t be afraid to utilize the snow for other fitness activities; like cross-country skiing or snow shoeing. These are all great aerobic workouts to supplement the training. It can also prevent burnout or keep you active if you tend to not to want to run in the snow.
While exercising outside on better air quality days I suggest dressing in layers. As your body warms-up you can remove layers to control temperature. I often see runners wearing too many layers so usually in 20 degree temps I wear two layers on the top, earwarmers, gloves or mittens (sometimes with hand warmers) and tights. If it’s snowing I also suggest a hat or visor so you don’t “blink” yourself to death. Surprisingly, I often wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun’s bright reflection off the snow. Glasses can also block the wind from making the eyes water and tears from dripping down the lacrimal ducts causing your nose to run. This can be annoying and lead you to wiping your nose excessively.
Often while running outdoors the feet can get wet and cold and there are concerns of slipping. For this I would suggest running in trail shoes that have more traction and are generally more water proof. I also like to use a water-proof spray on my shoes and clothes. If you can stay dry you won’t lose as much heat. Short gators can also prevent snow from getting in your shoes and melting. If you are concerned about black ice and slippery surfaces you might consider using yaktrax, IceTrekkers, or Kahtoola MicroSpikes. They can all be found at Wasatch Running Center or a local running store in your area.
If you are like me and it takes you a while to warm-up in cold temperatures but you don’t like to be stuck indoors, I would suggest warming up on a treadmill or indoor exercise bike then take the run outside. Remember running on slick snowy surfaces isn’t going to be as fast as you can go on a treadmill but it’s still a great workout. If you usually train by pace I would suggest using heart rate numbers to train with during the winter. Contact me if you need more training tips.
Another outdoor concern is traffic safety. I often find myself winding back and forth from the sidewalk to the street to avoid really deep snow or icy patches. As always be aware of your surroundings and assume cars don’t see you. I also suggest running against traffic, wearing bright colors with reflexive strips, blinking lights or utilize the Tracer 360 visibility vest (noxgear.com 20% off with code BLONDERUN) which can be seen from all directions. I don’t use music as much in the winter so I can hear my surroundings better and stay safe. It is also helpful to train with others as a group since you are much more visible to traffic.
Either way, whether you plan to workout indoors or outdoors don’t let anything get in your way. Yes, winter can make it more challenging to get the workouts in but if you want the rewards you have to do the work. No excuses.
Coach Lora Erickson
About the Author:
Coach Lora Erickson is a nationally ranked and All-World Triathlete as well as certified running, triathlon, swimming, and cycling instructor. She has a true passion for nutrition education, fitness & health promotion and has been coaching for over 25 years. She works with all level of athletes and relishing the opportunity to help beginners harness their true potential. She offers community classes, in-person and on-line custom coaching. To learn more contact her directly at email@example.com or visit BlondeRunner.com to read health articles.
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I am a big fan of yoga! I think it’s really great for runners and I know it helps my muscles recover from workouts. It’s something that I started integrating into my training some time ago and I believe one of the reasons I am able to function so well today. I was thrilled to try out this new wheel I got from YogDev for my own home practice at home (my kids love it too). It’s great because the wheel comes with this little card showing you how to use it doing the poses, it’s simple.
The bridge and bow were very doable for me. Many of the poses are beyond my ability but it gives me something to strive for. It’s a high quality product. This could also make a great gift for any fitness enthusiast. Learn more Learn more about yogdev wheels
Coach Lora Erickson
Want some more fitness structure and accountability? Hire Coach Lora, contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn proper swim technique, developed cycling skills and run faster and more efficient. All aspects of triathlon training are covered including nutrition instruction. Beginners welcome. On-line and in-person triathlon coaching is available.
Coach Lora Erickson
aka Blonde Runner
“I have enjoyed working with you on my triathlon goals and races. I am highly satisfied with your coaching, I appreciate your efforts in my training and I want to continue to succeed with your help. Last year, you helped me break ALL of my PRs in running and this year (so far) you have helped me SET 3 new PRs (Full Marathon, Half Century and Duathlon)” – Angela M.
About the Coach:
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a nationally ranked triathlete competing in all distancing of triathlon including Ironman. She is a USA Triathlon All-American. She is well-educated and holds many certifications including: NASM – Corrective Exercise Specialist, B.Sc. Degree from Utah State University in Health Education with duel minors in Nutrition and Chemistry, USATF certified coach, USA Triathlon Certified coach, US Masters Swim Level 1 & 2 Coach, & Slowtwitch Cycling Triathlon Coach. She welcomes beginners and loves to help people meet their health & fitness goals. Learn more
The kids team triathlon training program will begin the first week of August this year. This is a 5-week training program for the Labor Day Triathlon in September. Children 8 and up are welcome to participate. The Registration is open. To learn more message Coach Lora Erickson directly at email@example.com.
Please note: You child will need to be able to swim all the way across the pool by themselves to participate.
To learn more visit: Team Blonde Runner Youth Triathlon
Like us on Facebook: KidsTBRtriathlonteam
I am so excited to be involved in this local Beat The Heat event. This event will take place in Woods Cross in Davis County and offers a 5K as well as a kids run. Come join the fun on August 6th! #daviscounty #utah #running #races #sponsor #kids #legacyraces https://instagram.com/p/
My last race was Ironman Maryland, then I took some time completely off running to see if I could get my knee to feel better. It looks like to rest has paid off as it felt pretty good today. I was pleased to start my racing season with a solid first place division win at a local half marathon today. It was a training race to dial in my numbers. It was fun to see so many friends today. Up next: Oceanside 70.3 in four weeks. I am super excited about it! #triathlon #swimbikerun #blonderunner #athlete #halfmarathon #trainingrace #firstplace #running #familysupport #sponsorsupport
@intermountain @champsys @wasatchrunningcenter @drinkcocogo @bountifulbicycle @ironmantri #70point3 #IM703CALI #california #elete #oceanside https://instagram.com/p/BClbFlHO1OT/
Coach Lora Erickson
For various reasons I did not meet my potential in high school or college running. My senior year in college was a particularly hard setback, while I was running for Utah State University on scholarship. I started to have a hard time breathing when I was running and would get winded easily going up the stairs despite being in great shape. It started to affect my race performances. It was strange since I did not have asthma.
My brother-in-law, who is an ENT doctor, found a cyst in my neck which protruded into my windpipe and I ended up having to undergo neck surgery in the middle of racing season. Up to this point, I had improved, getting faster every year but this was the only year I was unable to because of the setback.
It was difficult to walk around the track as I recovered while my teammates ran circles around me. As the team captain I was used to taking the lead. It was hard to regain fitness to the level needed to compete well for my final track season. I don’t believe I ever met my potential in college but it’s never too late. Since having children and coaching myself I have now ran faster times than I did in college. I believe I still have faster times in me despite my age. I am really enjoying competing in triathlons now. I have a lot of goals to still accomplish. I strive to continue to improve and believe it’s never too late to become the athlete I could have been. If you have a dream keep working towards it. You never know what you might accomplish with persistent effort. I’m working to be the BEST ME I can be. How about you?
As many of you know I like to train like I race so I have been practicing my nutrition during rides as usual. I am really liking this EO Gear bag I got from the Endurance Sports Show. I love that it has many separate compartments to hold the different products I like to use like Cocogo (use the code “blonderunner” to get 20% off during March), Endurolytes tablets (use the code “blonderunner” for 15% off the first order), gels and regular food too.
I really like the mesh pocket on the side to hold my used gel packets while I ride. Bonus- it has a reflective stripe on each side (you know how I feel about safety). To purchased online visit EoGear.com
This particular one is the Century Bag Deluxe and bonus – it’s made in the USA, particularly Utah! Wahoo for local!
It’s made of durable water proof material so I know if I experience the harsh conditions that I experienced at Ironman Maryland it can hack it and my food won’t get wet or soggy. It’s worth checking out.
Coach Lora Erickson
I just love yoga pants – they are so comfortable. I also love to laugh, it’s what gets me through life. This is a great clip, enjoy!
Coach Lora Erickson
Triathlon Training Class
Wed. April 27, 2016
6:30- 8 p.m., $25
Come learn how to get started in triathlons and/or polish your skills. Swim technique, cycling skills, running form, training tips and nutrition will be covered. Come get all the answers to your questions in this lecture-style class to be held in the Bountiful area. All triathlon distances will be covered. Lots of great racing tips will be shared. There are limited spots in this class. Pre-registration is required. Message Coach Lora Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to register.
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner
USATF & USAT certified run & triathlon coach
US Masters Level 1 & 2 swim coach