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Race season, for most of us, is over and the thought of being indoors for the next few months has brought an early onset of cabin fever. Maintaining or building your base in the winter months is vital to have a head start on the 2017 race season.

While the “dreadmill” and indoor track workouts are great options, you don’t have to abandon your adventures in the great outdoors. As long as you dress accordingly, you can continue training outdoors all winter long.

When you walk out the door, dress like it’s about 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. Being a little chilly the first half mile or so is normally a good thing. As we all know, your body temp will rise once you get moving. Too many layers can create the opposite effect by driving your body temp up. Mitigating your sweat rate is key on really cold days. It will take some experimentation, but after a few runs you should be able to have an idea of what you can and can’t wear in certain temps.

Synthetic or wool-based clothing and accessories are a must. You want materials that will pull moisture away from the body and/or maintain their warmth during workouts. Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean that you won’t be sweating during your run. If you normally wear cotton, it’s more likely to create issues when it gets wet and the temps are at or below freezing.

Must Have Items:

• Stocking hat

• Gloves

• Long sleeve shirt or baselayer

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• ½ zip top – mid or heavy weight

• Shell (windbreaker, etc.)

• Tights

While the items above are great all winter-long, occasionally our flaky friends will fall from the sky and blanket the ground. There is nothing like heading out for a run in fresh snowfall! The dampening effect of snow blocks out the rest of the world other than the crunch of each foot fall. Shorter strides along with the layer of snow (or ice) makes your normal run more of an adventure. Shoes with good tread come in handy as do traction devices for a little extra grip.

The winter months also mean less daylight available to fit our runs in. With work and family responsibilities, there is a good chance your run might include some time under the stars.

Running apparel companies have come a long way by adding reflectivity and bright colors to their product lines in recent years. As much as they add, nothing beats carrying a light source. Not only will it help you see, but other pedestrians and drivers are also more likely to see you.

Enjoy the holidays and stay safe out there.

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Jeramy Duffee is an RRCA Running Coach and an ACE Personal Trainer with experience ranging from 5K’s to 100 mile trail races. For coaching inquiries or to submit a topic for a future column, please email swingthegate@gmail.com

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