Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cold Weather Running Essentials



Every year, thousands of people make new year's resolutions that they will be healthier, work out more frequently, get in shape, and eat less junk food. I can admit that I used to be one of those people. I don't think I am fat by any means, but I always knew I could be in better shape. However, it took me many years to realize that it doesn't need to be new years to make a resolution. If you want to change, all you have to do is put in some effort to do whatever it is you want to do! 

After graduating from college in May, I decided I was going to go for it. My goal wasn't to lose weight, just to eat healthier, and work out more than I had through college. With exams, nights out, and the unlimited buffet far away from me, I figured it couldn't be too hard to accomplish my plan.

I was wrong (of course). Within a month, I had gotten nowhere. I didn't want to get up early to hit the gym; it was too hot to go running; I would rather have a slice of apple pie than an apple; I was too busy. They were all excuses. I quickly realized I was trying to make too changes at once. If I wanted to get in better shape, I had to go much slower. I started by doing my best to eliminate unhealthy foods from my diet. I stopped eating out at fast food restaurants, I cut out my afternoon snack, and picked a small splurge for the end of the day. 

Choosing to make healthier dining options wasn't very hard. Trying to enforce a work-out routine on the other hand, was a different story. I tried a Zumba class, which I absolutely hated. I tried just working out at the gym on my own, which wasn't fun either. It wasn't until I started taking turbo-kick at my local gym and began running in my neighborhood that I began to like working out for the first time.

I like to run because it's easy. You don't need anything other than a pair of tennis shoes. That's it! However, when it's cold, just a pair of tennis shoes isn't sufficient. Here are some essentials I would recommend for cold weather running (especially for those who are making a new years resolution to run)! Although you can use most of this stuff no matter what the season, some of these are must haves during the winter. 

Nike + iPod sensor: If you have Nike compatible shoes, you can use this to track your runs, calories, and so much more. All you do is slip the chip into the left sole of your shoe, and your iPod/iPhone collects information about your workouts. However, if you're looking for an app to use if you don't have Nike compatible shoes, I would recommend MapMyRun. I used this for months, and loved it! The best part - it's free!

Belkin Armband (similar here): I've had this arm band for years, but just started using it this summer. I don't know how anyone can run without it! It doesn't slip, and provides a tight grip to hold your iPod in place while you run. It can be difficult to change songs though, so it's helps to already have a great playlist picked out.

iPod: Like my armband, I don't know how anyone can work out without an iPod! I guess some people might enjoy the peace and quiet, but I for one love to listen to music that pumps me up!

Nalgene: After a long run, there's nothing better than downing a big bottle of cold water. Nalgene bottles are durable (you seriously couldn't break them if you tried), colorful, and hold half your daily water serving. They can be a little pricey for a water bottle, but I wouldn't recommend anything else. 

Headphones: Lightweight and simple, these are perfect to slip under my knit ear cover. I've been using the same ones for years, and have never had a problem with them.

Texting Gloves: When I run in the cold, the first things to get goosebumps are my hands. These gloves have a soft fleece lining that keeps my fingers warm without being too much. Plus, I love the tips on the index finger and thumb. They make it easy to control my iPod when needed without having to completely remove my gloves.

Ear Cover (here): Right after my fingers get cold, my ears get cold. This wide band covers my ears perfectly! Just like the gloves, my ear band is fleece lined, so I can stay warm. It also keeps any flyways tucked back, and my headphones in. This is an absolutely necessity if you plan on running in cold weather.

Pumped-Up Playlist: There is nothing that gets me running better than loud music that motivates me. It helps to distract me from the cold weather, and sets a relative pace of where I should be at certain time. Look forward to what I listen to in an upcoming post.

Fleece Jacket (not seen): Of course, don't forget a lightweight fleece jacket that you can wear while you run! You don't want anything too heavy, just something to keep your arms covered. I found a cheap one from Target for $3 that works perfectly!

I hope my recommendations help any newbies out! Seasoned runners - is there anything you would recommend that I am missing?





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