runfreeforever

Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

What to Wear (cold weather)

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but for the end of March, it’s still freezing here. Last year I remember running outside for track practice every day, not having to worry about meets cancelled for snow and uncommonly cold weather. But not this year. We’ve been confined to running circles around the gym. We’ve been able to run outside in the ice and puddles on the trail by our school, but we’ve only had about 4 or 5 workouts on the track so far. Our first and second outdoor meets have both been cancelled – we were supposed to have one last Saturday and one tomorrow. Today was the first “warm” day of the spring – and it was still only 42 degrees. WHEN IS SPRING GONNA COME???

I always have the hardest time trying to decide what to wear when I run. I am probably one of the most indecisive people you’d ever meet. Over my spring break, we went south and went to the beach, where it was lovely and 60-70 degrees every day. I got to wear tank tops and shorts and cutoffs every day, and I never had any problems deciding what to wear. But then when I got back to this freezing cold, snowy weather, I’ve got my same old problems again, trying to pick out what to wear so I’m not sweating through all my clothes or numb from the cold. But even though I’m indecisive, here’s my list of essentials for the lingering cold weather!

BASE LAYERS:

It’s super important to have a good, warm, sweat-wicking base layers to keep you warm. Before I start, I must stress my RULE #1.) NO COTTON!!! ESPECIALLY FOR THE BASE LAYER!!!! YOU GOTTA GET THE SWEAT AWAY FROM YOUR SKIN ASAP OR YOU WILL FREEZE AND TURN NUMB AND GET HYPOTHERMIA!!!!! (okay, I might have been exaggerating a bit, or a lot, but that just shows how serious I am). Anyways. I almost always wear running tights whenever it’s chilly out. I like Nike’s Dri-FIT tights like these ones below, because they’re super comfy and warm. My pair of Nike tights are fuzzy on the inside too, which makes them even better.

Nike Pro Core II Women's Tights

http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/?l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-438005/pgid-707273

Running tights, and running performance clothes in general, can get pretty pricey. Big name brands like Under Armor, Nike, Asics, etc. are good, but the running tights from Target often work just as well and don’t hurt your wallet as much. I have two pairs from Target, a thicker one and a thinner one, and they both work wonderfully for me. The tights below are $25 from Target, it’s a pretty good deal compared to the rest of the name-brand tights that range from $50-100+ !

C9 by Champion® Women's Leggings - Black Heather

http://www.target.com/p/c9-by-champion-women-s-leggings-black-heather/-/A-14232550#prodSlot=large_1_25

There’s also a wide variety of awesome patterned tights out there, I’d really like to get myself a pair one of these days! Dick’s Sporting Goods always seems to have a great variety of flashy colors and prints. I think these ones below are pretty cool!

Nike Engineered Print Women's Running Tights

http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/?l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-654842/pgid-654006&cp=usns_CSE_081109_ShopzillaBizRate

After you’ve got your good running tights, a good performance shirt is always important. A shirt that wicks away sweat and keeps you dry will be your best friend, since when you’re sweaty and wet, you only get colder. Once again, the same name-brand rules apply for shirts like they do for the running tights. Here’s a few that I like:

This black Under Armor shirt is just basic. Wear it by itself, under a t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, anything. I’ve got a pretty similar C9 one from Target too.

http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/womens-ua-sonic-longsleeve/pid1233503-001

On really cold days, I like the mockneck on shirts like this, especially when the wind is strong. When it starts getting warmer though, it drives my crazy.

Under Armour Women's Fitted ColdGear Mockneck Shirt - Dick's Sporting Goods

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4288336&ppp=18&cp=4406646.4413874.12019863.12181217.12181219

I like this half-zip shirt by New Balance a lot, I think it might be my favorite shirt! Besides being cute and warm, it has reflective material on the back, and the end of the sleeves have thumb holes and can fold over like mittens.

http://www.6pm.com/new-balance-nbx-prism-half-zip~2?zfcTest=mat%3A1

Well that’s a start on my recommended cold-weather running wardrobe; I’ll finish it up next time, with sweat pants, sweat shirts, hats, and gloves!

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Running Is Ruining My Lungs :(

As I’ve mentioned before in earlier posts, besides being a runner, I am also a singer. I am in the prep show choir at my school and we’re nearing the end of a great, successful season. It’s so much fun and so exhilarating to perform in front of so many people. Plus having an incredibly talented group of people and an amazing director makes it even better. We’ve won our first four competitions and we have one more competition this saturday. Here’s a video of our show!


But now that track season has started, I’m out running in the cold everyday, breathing in the cold, dry air. The weather hasn’t been awfully cold lately, but still in the upper 20’s to 30’s range. When I run in the cold a lot, it tends to hurt my lungs and give me a cough, but it usually isn’t too bad. But lately this past week, my lungs have had lots of problems and I start coughing every time I breathe deeply, laugh, or sing…which is really bad when you’re in show choir and have to sing and dance and breathe deeply all at the same time. It’s hard to have good breath support when you can’t breathe in deeply without having a coughing fit! I suppose I could be getting sick, but I’m pretty sure that it’s all just from my running in the cold. I was looking up ways to try to stop and prevent this, and came across a few websites with some helpful tips. And even if you aren’t a singer, some of these tips might be helpful for you too if your lungs are sensitive to breathing in the cold air! Here’s a few of them!

♪ Try to breathe in only through the nose and out through nose and mouth. This gives the air a chance to warm and moisturize before hitting your larynx and lungs.

♪ Scarf & hat. 70-80% of body heat-loss happens through neck and head.

♪ Cold air is usually very dry and requires us to hydrate more than normal.  Remember the rule: Half your body weight in ounces of water daily. 150 lbs. = 75 ounces of water . . . at least.

♪ A warm drink will help warm areas around the larynx, but remember: caffeine is a diuretic and can dry you out. Staying with decaffeinated drinks (still some caffeine there), or better yet no-caffeine drinks is better on singing days. Something like “Throat Coat” tea is filled with interesting flavors and very good for singers.

from http://vocalcoach.com/blog/2010/11/cold-weather-tips-for-singers/

I’ve tried breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth more when we’re doing shorter, easier runs, but it’s nearly impossible when we have harder, faster days. I’ve been drinking lots of tea and bringing it to practices, which helps a bit. I should probably drink more water throughout the day, but it gets hard at school. Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit soon or I can figure out how to get my lungs to be happy again!

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Why Don’t I Wanna Run???

Looking at the side of my blog, I was reminded that the start of my track season is a shockingly short fourteen days away. FOURTEEN DAYS!!!! as in ONLY TWO WEEKS!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! D: I am so unprepared, feel so out of shape, and lack the motivation to change that. I think back to July, in the weeks leading up to my cross country season. I was so motivated, I ran every single day, and I was determined to have a good season. But I look at myself now, wish I was faster and more in shape, but I don’t really feel like getting my shoes on to do anything about it. We had a track meeting with our coach on Friday, and it shocked me how close we are to the start of our season. It was kind of like a cold slap in the face. But with the disgustingly freezing cold weather that we have right now and the ice covering the streets and sidewalks, running outside would likely literally slap me cold in the face. Why am I lacking the motivation and excitement for the upcoming season that I had back in July?? Why don’t I feel that same urge to get my shoes on and run? Why don’t I care that I’m not in the best shape or ready to kick some butt in a few weeks? Why don’t I care that I’m probably not going to start my season out at the top of the team and run varsity right away? It’s true that I prefer cross country over track, but that’s all just a mental thing. I know that if I don’t do the right things, I’m not going to get to go to state like I want so badly. I know that I’m not going to get the varsity letter that I’ve been dreaming of since last year. I know that my body takes a long time to get back in shape. I know that in May, I’m going to regret my lack of preseason training. But it is so much easier to stay inside, sit on the couch, watch some quality High School Musical or The Amazing Spiderman or How I Met Your Mother, or look at Pinterest and all of its inspirational and motivational quotes and ideas that are supposed to make you want to get up and get active. Like these:

Need to say this every morning.... .  40 Things to Try When You Don't Want to Work Out. I NEED these!  You will never regret at workout

I especially need to listen to this one:

But no. I ran once this past week, five miles on Friday. That’s it. I should probably go running after school today. After all, track season starts in fourteen days and the more out of shape I am now, the harder those first few weeks are going to be. So my goal for this week? Twenty miles. I’ll keep you posted on how close I get to that goal. It’s quite a big leap up from the five miles this week. Pretty wimpy compared to my cross country preseason training. But like Pinterest told me, the difference between my body this week and next week is what I do for the next seven days. I can’t make up for my insufficient running for the past few months. But I can start running more now, I guess it’s better late than never!

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Trying to Train for Track (and rude drivers)

Today I ran about 7.2 miles and I forgot my watch, but I’m sure it was somewhere between an hour and five and ten minutes. Yesterday I ran about 4.5 miles in about 38 minutes. Last Thursday I ran about 5.5 miles in a little under 46 minutes. Tuesday I ran 2 miles in 16 minutes on the Dreadmill (that wasn’t a typo). I think that’s all the running I’ve done since the new year. And TRACK SEASON STARTS IN A MONTH AND FOUR DAYS!!!! This is ridiculous. I’ve only run 19.2 miles this year so far! I’ve got to pick it up or there’s no way I’m going to be able to compete on the same level as all the other girls. While I was out running, my friend and I crossed paths with a girl we know from another school who is also in cross country and track. She was out getting some speed work in, but she had already run much further than my friend and I had! I feel like such a slacker – that girl from the other school is going to beat me. A girl from my team that I’ve seen running every single day this winter is going to kick my butt. I don’t have the natural ability to go out and be automatically in shape like some girls I know. I have to spend months working up to it, or I will be minutes and miles behind the girls who are at the level I want to be at so badly. I want that varsity letter this season in track with every ounce of desire in me, but for some reason I’m not feeling the motivation to actually do the work I need to do to get there, like I had in the summer before cross country season. I guess part of it might just be because I don’t like track as much as I like cross country, or maybe I lose my urge to run because of the cold. I need to drop the excuses because I desperately need to work these legs of mine back into shape! Like this awesome Nike ad says below, it’s up to me to make myself who I want to be!

http://bowrag.net/crazy-running-legs-hits-a-home-run/

But today while I was running (the longest run in over a month, maybe even a month and a half!), we were about to cross a street when two cars in a row rudely drove through a huge puddle on the side of the road, drenching both my friend and I. We could see them laughing as they drove away. Really? Do they have to be that inconsiderate that they would go out of their way to drive directly through the puddle, rather than going around it like everyone else? Just because I can beat your butt in a race does not give you any excuse to make me freeze on my already-cold-enough run around the lake today, thank you very much. Sorry for this rant, but could drivers be a bit more considerate of us runners? I know that cross country runners in general have a bad tendency to cross the roads at less-than-convenient, and sometimes dangerous or fatal times, and we need to work on that. I’ve seen the stories on the news of the runners that didn’t run fast enough and had their seasons ended by a run-in with a moving vehicle. That’s our fault and we need to work on it. But it doesn’t give others an excuse to be rude and mean and spray us with frigid water from the dirty melted snow while we’re trying to trying to have a nice, peaceful run!

I’ll be out tomorrow running some 400s, making my body how I want it to be, getting back in shape, and hopefully not soaked!

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My frenemy the treadmill

Eww. I hate treadmills. Or do I love them in disguise? A disguise where I am a really really really good actor, so good that I even almost start believing that it’s true? I was in the school play the past two years, maybe some of my acting skills carried over? Maybe?

Anyways, it’s winter….which unfortunately means cold, snow, ice, painful breathing in the frigid air and numb extremities (aka I CAN’T FEEL MY NOSE OR MY FINGERS OR MY LEGS ANYMORE!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!) But I still gotta get my miles in! I can’t let myself get so out of shape like last year! So what do I do? Do I take the constant runny nose and the icky cough? Or do I embrace my dreaded treadmill and stay inside for a few miles? My running buddy wants me to get a membership at the gym, where about 10.5 laps is the equivalent of a mile. None of these sound like ideal choices to me, but what else can I do? Decisions. Ugh. I’m the worst decision-maker in the world.

I ran about 3.5 miles today, just around my neighborhood. The weather wasn’t great, but with a few layers, the wind didn’t bite quite so much and I stayed relatively warm enough. But then tonight the snow started falling and we’re right in line for a blizzard to bring the Christmas spirit in. School has already been cancelled for tomorrow – PARTY!!:) but really, this just means it’s gonna get harder to find a place to run and the motivation to get me to subject my poor unwilling body into submission to run longer than four miles.

I have a treadmill at my house, which is nice once in a while, so I can get in a mile or maybe two at night or on those -20 degrees with wind chill days when a run outside is impossible without getting frostbite or hypothermia or something like that (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, I could probably run outside without dying). But when I try to do a whole, for-real, quality treadmill workout involving more than a mile or two, I just can’t do it. I get so bored. I was running on the treadmill yesterday, and after half a mile, I just kept pushing the faster button. Faster. Faster. Get me off this thing because I’m so bored and I’m getting nowhere. Faster. Faster. I’m running at a 6:30 minute-per-mile pace. Faster. Ugh. Finally I gave up. I quit after a mile and a half. It’s embarrassing, I know. I’ve looked for ways to run good treadmill workouts. I haven’t yet found anything that can keep me going. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

On the other hand, if I didn’t get so bored out of my mind, treadmills are great. You can stay out of the cold. You don’t have to go anywhere. If you’re not feeling it, you can stop anytime without worrying about being five miles away from your car. There are pros, there are cons. Maybe they work for some people. I’m just not so sure that my dear friend Treadmill and I were meant for each other.

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Getting Back in Shape

Finally. I ran again today for the first time in two weeks!:( I had surgery on my wrist two weeks ago for a ganglion cyst. It looked gross, felt weird when you touched it, and hurt a lot, especially when I was writing, typing, or playing piano a lot, so I’m glad I had it taken off after having it for about three years. But since I couldn’t run for two weeks while I had to keep my brace on full-time, I think I’m getting out of shape! Terribly out of shape! I struggled far too much for only a three-mile run! Granted, we may have started out a bit too fast, but I am unbelievably disappointed by how out of shape I’ve become. My legs didn’t want to move, I was gasping breath while I was trying to talk to my running partner, and I know it’s awful but I was tempted, so tempted, to take a walk break around mile 2. Awful. Embarrassing. I know. This is exactly the opposite of what I want to happen over this winter! My goal was to try to stay in shape and to keep my fitness level at least close to what it was during my cross country season so I’m not as slow as I was last year at the beginning of track season. Last year I hardly ran at all over the winter. I’m pretty sure that I’ve run more since state cross country than I did all year last year! As a result of my little training last year, I think I was running around a 7 minute 1500, and a fourteen-or-fifteen-something 3000 in our time trials in practice. At the first meet of the year last year, I ran a 2:47 800m, and I only got down to 2:37 by the end of the year. In comparison, I ran the first 800m (half mile) of my 2.5 mile state cross country race this year in 2:46. That’s a good second faster than I ran at that first meet in track last year, and I didn’t have to run 2 more miles afterward! That absolutely must change this year. I was an alternate at state last year for my track team’s 4×8 relay. If I want to make my claim to my place on that team this year, I need to get below 2:30. I’ve set some goals for myself this upcoming track season. I need to be at least under 6 minutes for a 1500 at the beginning of the year. I need to be under 12:15 at the very very very really-bad-day slowest for my 3000m. I need to be definitely under 2:40 for my 800m at the beginning of the season, but preferably I won’t run any 800s slower than 2:35 all season! I really want to get my 800 time down to a 2:26 by the end of the season, but I guess we’ll see how that goes! For now, I need to become more regular and consistent with my winter training, get in touch with my coach, and stay focused! February is closer than it seems!

See you out running tomorrow!

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