Winter Warmer

There are three problems in a runners life, running in the height of summer, running in the cold winter and then there is injury.
Despite all our best attempts, injuries still occur when running or jogging and much as we try to avoid them for fear of breaking a training cycle, sometimes it just cannot be helped.
Take for example running in hot weather can negatively affect your performance with overheating and dehydration.


Overheating is the result of inadequate cooling; when the body cannot keep up with the demands of evaporation of water from your skin. When the body heats up internally, it starts to sweat and sends more blood to the skin where it is cooled by coming into contact with the relatively cooler skin. However, while running, your body's demand for oxygen to the muscles means less blood will flow to the skin and this is when overheating occurs. And thus begins the tug-of-war within your body, especially if you want to keep up a certain pace. Either the blood (and oxygen) goes to your muscles to keep up with the pace demands and you start to overheat because less blood is going to the skin for cooling, or the blood goes to the skin for cooling, but less blood goes to your working muscles meaning you'll be forced slow down.
Dehydration is the process of losing fluid from the body, in this case through sweat. As you sweat you lose water and electrolytes. That's why drinking a sports drink containing electrolytes, as well as water, is so important. Because running in the heat exacerbates both overheating and dehydration, it is important to take precautions when running in the heat.
I have managed to use the lighter nights and extend running times to a cooler time but now one thing that is very new to me is that of running in the winter months.


Falling temperatures and fewer daylight hours does not mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running in cold weather can help shake those winter blues, boost your energy level but comes at a different pace.
There is nothing like a good run on a nice, crisp, sunny day. When the weather is perfect, not too hot, not too cold and your body is comfortable, your breathing is easy, and the sun feels warm on your face. These are the days when you love being a runner.
But then winter hits. You lace up your running shoes and go out for your usual run, and it is so cold your chest hurts when you inhale, and to top it off, the freezing wind dries out your skin. It is these cold winds that drive you indoors to either use your trusty treadmill or worse, makes you hibernate for the whole of the winter and fatten up just like the Christmas turkey only to have to start all over again in the new year.
Personally I am finding that after I got used to breathing in cold air and using my inhaler to help stop the cold air from forcing my breathing into a struggle. Running in colder weather pushed me further as my body wanted to run to keep warm and intern helped me cover a little more distance.
If anything my old knee injury is the problem to running in the colder months. I just need to keep that injury warm and then that will not be the excuse to not running this winter.