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SFTC Summer Training Program: Winter Training
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For many people, the winter months are the most difficult to stay focused and motivated.

The bold color of spring, the green of summer, and the yellow/orange of fall have gone and you're left with a beige and brown landscape and dreary weather. The short daylight hours give you only an hour or two to get in a run after work.

Half empty or half full?
But this can also be the most introspective and personal time of the year to train. You can run freely without the pressure of a looming PR. Without the worry of overheating. Without the nervousness of that next race coming up.

Don't stop, but do smell the roses.
Winter is a wonderful time to experience some unique perspectives. A blanket of fog lying on a still lake. Icy silver lawns coated with frost. An indigo sky with diamond stars on a clear night run. Perspiration mist that somehow freezes on the outside of your fleece jacket. (it amazes me how you can sweat when freezing temperatures are just an inch from your body!?).

Stretch it out.
Winter is definitely a time to ease off on your training intensity and enjoy the ride. Again, variety is key because you certainly don't want to burn out. With plenty of time on your hands, you can experiment with an occasional long run on the weekend. The cool temperature will offset your body heat, allowing you to go further than you'd normally expect. This extra mileage base will help you keep the pounds off and have you ready for spring training.

What to wear?
Summer running apparel is pretty straightforward: Shoes, socks, shorts, shirt. But winter weather and winter clothing presents more options. The basic idea is to stay dry so you can stay warm. Thin breathable layers work best. You'll be surprised how little insulation your body needs while exercising.

For your legs, go with running tights. They come in thinner styles for mild temps and thicker styles for frigid weather. You might slip on a pair of running shorts if you want additional coverage. Don't bother with cotton sweat pants (trash them!) because they get soaked with sweat, weigh a ton, and will sap heat away from you.

For your upper body, breathable long sleeve running shirts are a staple. I like the mock turtleneck style because it keeps the drafts out. Again, stay away from cotton for the same reasons as noted above. You'll also want a light vest or jacket also. Don't worry too much about it being perfectly waterproof. Remember, you want the layers to breathe, releasing the sweat generated by your workout. Polar fleece works great too.

For your hands, I suggest having a few cheap pairs of polyester stretch gloves. They'll be warm enough as long as the temperature is above freezing or so. For colder temps, I have a pair of medium-weight fleece gloves.

The same goes for your head: I wear a thin fleece headband to cover my ears, forehead, and neck. This is enough unless the temperature drops below 25°F. Below that you might want a toboggan.

I buy most of my winter apparel and running watches from CampMor (catalog and also CampMor.com).