Running when it’s cold: why not stop in winter

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How is a runner born? Where does that momentum come from? that makes us leave the house and grind kilometers upon kilometers without thinking about the cold, rain or snow? From the fact that, since the dawn of time, we are “designed” to run, and on this there are millions of years of human evolution on our shoulders. From the fact that, experienced runners say, you just need to start, and for this you only need a spark of motivation.

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That’s the gist of the book The beauty of running (Mondadori) written by the fashion jogger Lisa Migliorini, athlete, physiotherapist, a degree in osteopathy and over 600 thousand followers on social networks (Instagram in the lead), where he combines advice on running, fitness and fashion. Feel good he interviewed her to understand how to fuel the urge to run, without being weighed down by laziness, obstacles, winter weather or useless injuries that inhibit our speed journey.

Lisa, you say it too: jogging is tiring but it’s worth a try… What is it leveraged on?

Running is a metaphor for life. It requires sacrifice, constancy, willpower. Like existence, made up of moments of joy but also of sweat, difficulty and pain. Every workout is a test of vitality: it makes us ready to face any obstacle and in the end it pays us back with positive emotions. The beauty of running is that it allows everyone to meet their goals: it improves mood, helps to relieve stress, gives aesthetic satisfaction. There are many facets, physical and mental, that a person can see and rediscover in running.

What does it take to awaken the runner in us?

The desire to get back into the game. To run you don’t need a particular agility or a “bestial physique”. Anyone can do it, and at any age. It’s just a matter, step by step, of discovering within ourselves abilities that, perhaps, we didn’t think we had.

All right, but how do you carry on the interest?

First of all we have to like running, it is the basis of motivation. But to transform passion into perseverance you need a balance between enthusiasm and planning. Euphoria gives us the push, the adoption of gradual training schemes makes us aware of what we are doing. No one can improvise a high mileage runner, doing so means turning outings into unbearable suffering.

Planning, how is it done?

Accompanying yourself to a group workout or personal trainer is ideal, all of which are useful starting points for beginners. If we run alone, remember that first you start walking, then running. The basic scheme is: three outings a week at most – interspersed with rest or days of unloading activities such as swimming, cycling, pilates, fitness – alternating 2-3 minutes of brisk walking with 1 minute of running. The goal, with each outing, is to run more and more minutes and walk less and less. But it is a goal that must be reached little by little, and it is our body that gives us the input to follow.

Speaking of times and kilometres, can you give us any indication of healthy realism?

The stimulus is also found in the result: it can be running a certain distance or going under a certain amount of time in a given route or being able to prepare to participate in our first race. Everyone can have different goals. Let’s say, for example, that for those who have been running for three-four months, a distance of 5 km can be a good goal, to then move on in a year first to 10 km, then again to the half marathon (about 21 km).

When can we consider ourselves tested?

When we manage to go out regularly four or five days a week, avoiding breaks for several days in a row. It is continuity that makes the leap in quality, and everyone must calibrate it according to their personal and professional commitments. The individual pace must be scrupulously respected. This is to say that it is always better to run three times a week for four months than five every other week, because in this way the exercise is not effective.

But if a stop occurs, how do you recover?

If it’s two-three days, never mind, it’s from the fourth day in a row that you start to lose physical shape. After a month of downtime, it’s almost like starting over. In any case, to recover, you need to do shorter outings at a less intense pace, alternating one day of running with another of alternative training. In about a month, you can go back to previous levels.

However, it’s hard to leave the house with the frost…

But if you don’t run even in the cold, your training isn’t consistent! The excuse of getting sick doesn’t hold up. On the contrary, moving in the cold strengthens the immune system and drives away seasonal ailments. Among other things, your legs are lighter, you feel less muscle fatigue (in the extreme, it’s more difficult to breathe), you consume a greater number of calories and the sensation of fresh air on your face is a nice regenerator. By the way, the best hours to go out are the central ones (from 1 to 4 pm) for the mildest temperatures, otherwise in the evening, even in the dark. No early in the morning, however, when the ground is often frozen and at risk of falling.

When can you consider yourself a good runner?

When we think not only of pure performance but of the positive sensations that running gives us. When we get to the end of the workout and we’re glad we did. Even if, perhaps, we have not reached our athletic goal.

Here are some valuable tips from Lisa. Scroll through the gallery to discover them:

For those who “go out” in the evening

Front or chest lights are mandatory safety accessories, which allow you to be visible and have a clear view of the terrain on which you are running. There are models to put on the forehead, others on the chest and on the back: the latter are red and, in case we run on the side of a road, they signal our presence to arriving cars.

For head and hands

Always running cap in technical fabric (no wool) or earmuffs and gloves. They are very important accessories: head and ears must always be covered. They are the last to warm up and, if not fixed, seasonal ailments are around the corner. Gloves must always be worn at the start of training, otherwise the hands will remain frozen throughout the run. If, during the journey, they get too hot, you can always lighten up.

The garments for above…

On the skin, it is advisable to wear a thermal underwear, thin and very close-fitting so as not to let the air pass and which allows the skin to breathe. There are different models (undershirt, short or long sleeves), to choose according to the outside temperature. On top, there is a heavier long-sleeved technical shirt, preferably with a high neck and zip. Thus, the throat will be protected, but if we feel warm, we can loosen the closure. Otherwise, ok for a neck warmer.

…and those for below

You need long, tight-fitting leggings in technical fabric. Also in this case there are lighter or heavier ones (also plush): let’s keep in mind, however, that the legs are the last part of the body where we will feel cold, even if it is important to protect them to minimize injuries. As for the socks, in winter it is better if they are thicker, warmer and that reach to the malleoli, so as not to leave the skin uncovered.