My first winter run but it’s still weeks away

Face freezing run

Today’s run (street): 4.3 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

Brrrr. There are still twelve days until winter, but this morning it felt like January. Even with moderate wind, the 30° temperature felt like 23°. Yesterday morning was a little milder, but still very cold. Due to that (and an early work schedule), I opted to run on the treadmill. I felt like I should get outside even though today’s conditions were even worse than yesterday’s.

My treadmill experience on Friday was actually pretty good. By wearing only running shorts and cranking the fan on my treadmill to maximum, I remained comfortable through most of the run. I set a challenging pace and put on a cable music channel in the hope that it would distract me from the usual tedium. And wouldn’t you know it, it did. Time didn’t stand still as I’d feared and I got to the end faster than expected.

I knew it would be chilly today so I took a little extra time to decide what to wear. Wool running socks, check. City Sport track pants, check. A Nike DriFit base layer, winter weight half zip, lined winter beanie and ASICS mitten gloves rounded out the gear. I added a thin buff that I could pull up to my chin when the wind hit straight on.

Even with that getup it still felt frigid when I stepped outside. Fortunately my Garmin acquired its signal immediately and I was on my way.  A half a mile in, I was still waiting to warm up. The cold wind amplified the low temperature and made my sunglasses feel frozen against my skin. I didn’t began to feel comfortable until I was halfway through the run.

It looks like tomorrow’s weather will be more of the same so I’ll do my best to protect my face from the freezing wind. I know there’s always the treadmill option, but I’ll tough it out as long as I can. If this January is anything like the last, I’ll be spending plenty of time running indoors.

Recovering on the Bethpage trail

Today’s gear. Black is the new black.

Today’s run (Bethpage Bike Trail): 5.6 miles

As the song goes, what a difference a day makes. The work week was exhausting and I counted on Saturday for recovery. Unfortunately, I felt ill all day with a pounding sinus headache that persisted throughout the evening. This morning I woke up feeling one hundred percent better and looked forward to getting outside. While Saturday’s perfect weather gave way to much colder temperatures today, conditions were still great for a run.

According to the local station, it was 33°, so I pulled out my Opedix running tights, Alpine Design quarter-zip top and ASICS lightweight running beanie. Not my warmest collection of gear, but good for today’s weather. I also wore my Saucony Triumph ISOs thinking they would be warmer than the Kinvaras. It turned out they aren’t and next time I’ll remember to wear wool socks.

I wanted to cover 5+ miles so I went to the Runsketeer staging area off Haypath. I ran south to Bethpage Stage Park and turned around at the start of the north trail. The Bethpage bikeway is a rolling path with a couple of steep but short sections between the park and Haypath Rd. I know the constant elevation change is great for conditioning, but I always dread those hills.

I ran north all the way to Old Country Road, passing many walkers along the way. Most were bundled up against the cold. There were surprisingly few runners and cyclists so the path was relatively clear. My gear kept me perfectly comfortable with the exception of my feet that felt the chill when the wind was blowing.

Today’s route

I would have liked to cover another .4 miles to make it an even six, but I ended up back where I started and felt good about how I’d run. Yesterday’s workout contributed to my fatigue that lasted throughout the day, while today’s run is still producing energy. One day made a huge difference, and I’m happy to be ending the weekend feeling this great.

Layering up for the Hangover

Too much?

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles

The old Scandinavian proverb, “There’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” is especially true for runners. This morning was so cold that I considered staying inside for my run. My wife was on the treadmill at the time so I would have needed to wait for her to finish. We had morning plans, so to save time I decided to brave the weather and dress “appropriately.”

I added another upper layer just before heading outside. It’s always tricky to find a balance that works. Races are hard, when you’re by yourself and there’s no place to keep warm before the race begins. I generally dress for my second mile. That can be uncomfortable unless I’m able to park close to the starting line and stay in my car until race time. Training runs, like today, are easier to manage because you can start as soon as you step outside.

That extra layer kept me comfortable from the beginning. I wasn’t looking to run at race pace which would have put me into overheating territory. It wasn’t until near the end that I really began to heat up. Flipping back my glove mittens to expose my fingers helped introduce enough cooling to counteract that heat. That got me through the remaining half mile.

Tomorrow is New Year’s day and, for most people, it’s a recovery day after staying up very late. But for me and my two other Musketeers (and possibly a fourth) we’ll be gathering in the morning at Eisenhower Park for the LIRRC Hangover Fun Run. The distance is supposed to be 5 miles but we may be going for a few extra. Our speediest-keteer is looking to cover ten.

I’ve done the Hangover event for the past couple of years and both mornings were very cold. The temperature at tomorrow’s 9:30 AM start is predicted to be 27°, with winds making it feel like 19°. Since this isn’t a race, I’ll probably error on the side of too many layers. Just as the Norwegians say, “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær.”

Ready to run with a RooSport

Front view of RooSport, ID pocket on other side

Today’s run (treadmill): 30 minutes

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a post on Runner’s Tech Review but that will soon change. This morning I received a product called the RooSport, a pocket that attaches magnetically to running shorts or pants. The idea is similar to the SPIbelt but the RooSport does not attach around your waist while you run.

I’ve been a fan of the SPIbelt for years and I use it every time I run. I’m curious to see how the RooSport feels compared to the SPIbelt, especially when loaded up with a smartphone and other small items. I’m also wondering how comfortable I’ll be wearing the RoosSport on the inside of my shorts. This is the method recommended and demonstrated by Brenda Brundage, who created the product.

We’ve had a lot of rain over the last two days and that kept me inside for today’s run. I considered wearing it on the treadmill, but I wanted my first experience with the RooSport to happen on an outdoor run. I ran for about 30 minutes this morning, fast enough to get my heart rate to the edge of the anaerobic zone. If the weather cooperates tomorrow, I’ll use the RoosSport outside on my run. I’ll share that experience and will post the full review in a few weeks on Runner’s Tech Review.

Good performance from a "market" brand

Lay it on

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

After a week that started fairly mild, the temperatures have now gotten much colder. I was excited to get back outside for a run. Anticipating the chill, I wore my Layer 8 half zip that does a nice job wicking sweat and keeping me warm.

According to the manufacturer’s website, Layer 8 is a market brand. This (I think) means it fits between  or below premium and private label brands. I only see it at clearance stores like Marshalls and TJ Max, never in sporting goods or running stores. When I see it, Layer 8 gear is typically priced 50% lower than “name” brands, for what appears to be equivalent clothing. I’ve had good luck with the compression shorts and the half zip I own. Except for a few obvious high performers, like my Craft running top and (though I hate to admit it) some Nike shirts and pants I own, I see little difference in performance between most lower and medium priced technical gear.

This morning’s run was surprisingly good considering I’d woken up with a sore throat and felt tired as I prepared to run outside. My new Black Diamond headlamp pulled the same “won’t light” trick that my Petzl did, which ultimately prompted its replacement. Re-seating the batteries solved it, as usual.

It was in the high 20’s when I stepped out and it took me a few minutes to warm up. Once past that point, I picked up the pace and ran the last mile much faster than the first. I’m not feeling great right now, but I plan to get some needed rest overnight. Hopefully that will set me up for a good weekend of cold weather running.

Singlet minded planning

I need to decide if less is more

With only six days before the Dirty Sock 10K, I’m working out my race day preparations. I’ve been thinking about whether to buy a singlet to wear as a hedge against the historically high humidity. The idea is sound, having less material on your body will allow more efficient evaporation of sweat. However, I’ve never run in a singlet and I don’t know if I’d like it or if I would find it a distraction.

My fallback is my Craft Performance running tee that does an excellent job of wicking and evaporating sweat. I’m not sure what conditions to expect on Sunday but, if it rains, efficient evaporation becomes less important and, to the prior point, less material would be beneficial. I’ll take a look at City Sports this week to see if there are any summer clearance bargains. If I get a singlet I can try it on one of my morning taper runs to see if I like it.

While I’m in shopping mode I need to remember to pick up more GU Roctane gels for the event. There aren’t too many products that I think can make a noticeable difference, but this one does.