Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winter Running Updates

Some thoughts on winter running as I've had to mix it up a bit.

* Snuck out to Bobcat Ridge in the Fort, one of my favorites, while up visiting for the Super Bowl. Some extra work in ankle-deep powder and drifts on the back, but also saw an elk herd there for the first time (for me).

* Broke my silly Colorado non-treadmill streak (almost 5 years) and total non-treadmill streak (5 or 6, not sure) last week on the coldest/icy days. To be fair (or rationalize), I did run and/or ride outside those same days to get to school (slow-speed slip on the ice during one bike ride), but wasn't as motivated to charge through the varying slop at road crossings. I don't like wasting external energy *while* I'm exercising on a treadmill, but driving a couple hours to go to the mountains also isn't planet-friendly, so hopefully nobody's gonna call me on this and other readily-apparent hypocrisies and nonsense.
* Nice to have treadmill available in our apartment workout room, but I can't get over being incredibly bored. Listened to some science podcasts in order to multi-task. I see the attraction when you want to be home and keep an eye on kids, though. I'll lean towards buying rollers for the bike though when it comes to that so I don't have to plug anything in.

* Been stretching more to keep the groin/hip/leg in check. Better than before, but not perfect. Stretching isn't making it worse, so begrudgingly it seems like a good idea for now.

* Stairs: My work building is 12 stories, but has a narrow, tight set of stairs that leave me dizzy and with a burning throat at the top. Across the way is a 9-story building, with wider concrete stairs and natural light. This has been a great option and I'm working on incorporating it semi-regularly. Takes me almost exactly a minute, slams the heart rate while keeping me honest on leg power and foot placement.
Did a bit of reading on the whole sport -- interesting sub-culture of racing with its own stars and techniques. One recent set of results has recognizable names like Ricky Gates winning and Mock in the Top 5, and Samantha Sigle for the ladies, so being good at stairs seems to correlate with other races. Is it causal, though? Who knows, but for a convenient winter workout, I'll take it!


  1. I'm in a contest with myself to run outdoors all winter, so I have not resorted to the mill as my main workout of the day so far. Plus I feel like a gerbil and am self-conscious. But that's my neurosis to deal with until I have one at my own abode.

    >driving a couple hours to go to the mountains also isn't planet-friendly

    You won't hear it from me, but that's a whole other topic. Let's just say I think decisions should be made given the totality of *all* your values, including "mundane" matters like health, enjoyment, cost and so on.

    The stair workout thing is interesting. I chuckle at the fact that while I run 14ers in the summer, I get winded going up 2 flights of stairs to my door. WT...? Actually I think it's the abruptness of the demand on the body. I imagine the ramp-up would be pretty brutal when running stairs.

  2. Yeah, I feel silly on the mill, but it's been convenient since it's right here and it's "free." In contrast, many runs outside, and every trip to the mountains, passes the "memory" test, in which I'll think about it randomly months or years later. Since our brains value it enough to be worthwhile to take up valuable real estate and glycogen, it must be worth* something!
    (Although rodents run on wheels volitionally as well...hmmm...)

    I know what you're saying about stairs vs. mountains: it's interesting to feel a lactate burn right around 20-25 seconds. I think one trick of the workout, similar to climbing while running or cycling especially, is getting your breathing started *before* you need it...which you're less likely to do just heading up the stairs with groceries!