It is crazy cold in New York today. Freezing. Might as well be in the Arctic Circle.
Last night we had one of the heaviest snowfalls on record and they shut down the entire city… All of the streets were closed and everything was still, covered in white. Anyone outside was probably a little insane or going cross country skiing (I’m not kidding, people do that here in winter!)…
It’s days like these that it’s hard to even get out of bed, let alone go for a run. But there are some that run year round – those super ambitious and disciplined people. Like Florencia, who is amazing – she runs in winter, no matter how cold it is. She’s a soccer player who decided to train for the New York City Marathon last year and has been running seriously for the past year. And she loves it, even in the cold. You should see her abs. And, if you keep it up through winter, you don’t have to start from scratch in spring (like I always do).
I know a lot of you are runners and we at the Studio try to have some sort of winter discipline, so here is some advice about keeping up your outdoor exercise in winter with John Henwood. He’s competed in marathons all over the world, as well as the Olympics – and continues to train other marathon runners here in New York. Rain, hail or shine.
Ah, inspiring people. It’s so good to listen to them before going back to bed!
What do you love about running in winter?
The overall benefits of running are the same in winter as they are in summer. It’s a good way to burn calories and to stay in shape, it keeps you happier with the release of endorphins, can help lower blood pressure and can alleviate general fatigue during the day.
Running outside in the winter can prove to be challenging. Between the freezing temperatures, ice and shorter hours of daylight it might be hard to get outside. But, the cold weather also makes you feel fresh and alive!
Is it more important to run in the colder or warmer months?
It is not more or less important to run in warmer or cooler weather. Physical fitness is always important and should be a way of life.
Do you see a change in how many people are out running and the frequency that people run during winter?
Although there are lower numbers of runners outside in the winter, I think there are probably just as many people that run in the winter versus summer… because running on a treadmill becomes much more popular. Also, with New Year‘s resolutions to get in shape or tackle a new distance, I think you very well might see an increase in people that are running.
How does the cold affect the body’s capacity to run?
Most of the time, the cold doesn’t have to affect the body’s capacity to run, if you warm up properly. Allowing the body to warm up gradually, until it’s ready to get to the pace you want to run, is the safest and most effective way. If you have a race or workout, you should do at least 20 minutes of jogging beforehand for the warm up in the cold.
What are the changes that should be made to a running — or fitness — routine for the winter time?
When doing physical activity in the winter, make sure to warm up properly. Dress appropriately for the conditions (using layers that are easy to take on and off), be especially attentive to keeping your hands and feet warm as they are going to get the coldest the quickest, and make safe decisions.
What kind of gear do you recommend people invest in if they want to run during winter?
For running outdoors in the winter, people should have a beanie, gloves, warm socks and tops that they can layer. Tights for their lower body.
What are some of the ways that people can remain inspired to run during winter?
Signing up for a race is one good way to keep motivated during the winter months. If you have a training plan and a goal in mind, it is more likely you will stick to a running schedule. Other good ways to stay motivated would be to run with a friend or a group because it keeps you accountable.
What’s one of the craziest winter running experiences you have had?
I think, when I first came to New York from New Zealand, I didn’t know what real cold was. I was out running in Central Park in my shorts in 15 degrees with a bunch of guys that had grins on their faces a mile wide. I didn’t pick up on the reason for those grins until about 35 minutes into the run, when my legs started to freeze.
At what kind of temperature do you think “okay, I won’t run outside today”?
For just going for a run, it’s not as much based on a precise temperature as it is based on safety. I wouldn’t recommend running outside when the street or path you run on is extremely icy.
Why it’s cold outside, how do you warm up quickly and safely when you come inside?
I like to just jump straight into a hot shower. Don’t just come in and lounge around. Get out of your clothes as soon as you get inside, and jump into the shower if you’re cold.
– John Henwood.