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Marla Warms (and Lightens) Up

Marla loosens up her legs. Afterwards, she felt like she was gliding while running.

One week many more cold ones to go?! Seriously though, this cold and snowy weather has been horrible!  It’s hard enough waking up to get ready for work on a normal day, but having to wake up an hour earlier (5:45 a.m. to be exact) to go for a run in the cold...not my cup of tea! Give me sunshine and a beach to run on, no problem. Icy, snow covered roads, no thanks!

But after some trial and error in the snow, I am trying to make it work and have resorted to training on the treadmill at my gym. This seems to be doable for now, but I know once the longer distances start rolling in, I am going to have to bundle up and fight the cold. Working in the fashion department here has allowed me to see all of the cool winter running gear that is out there though and I think I am fully prepared to face Jack Frost! My key bundling pieces this week were these awesome running mitts by Saucony (they also kept my hands toasty while watching my brother’s college ice hockey game the other night!), and these fleece-lined running tights by Champion. Hopefully with other winterized running pieces like these my outdoor training sessions will be somewhat bearable!

Besides the physical training, I have been meeting with Stephanie Middleberg of Middleberg Nutrition here in the city, who is helping me get my diet on track. I have always been a fairly healthy eater (I do love my peanut butter and fluff sandwiches though!), but eating to stay fit and maintain a healthy figure and eating to have enough energy to run long distances are two TOTALLY different things. For the first few weeks of my training, Stephanie wants me to cut my carbohydrate intake back to two servings-a-day (so much easier said than done!), and has increased my protein intake. Instead of eating protein once or twice a day like I had been doing, she wants me to incorporate protein into every meal that I eat. In a week's time, I have made hard boiled eggs my new best friend, and said buh-bye to all pretzels, goldfish and other empty carbs that I used to munch on throughout the day. I thought I was going to struggle with not being able to have my yummy snacks, but honestly after losing two pounds this week, I don’t think I am going to miss them all that much! Don’t let me fool you though, I still get to my scoop of ice cream at night before bed!

On a side note, the Saturday before the training began, I met with a friend of mine, Nick Nicholaides, who is an athletic trainer at a high school in New Jersey. He recently got certified to be a Fascial Stretch Therapist, and wanted me test it out before I started running. This special type of stretch therapy actually lengthens, realigns and increases joint space, allowing your muscles to feel lighter and less stiff. After doing an hour of therapy with Nick my legs felt so incredibly light. When I went for a run later that day I felt like I was gliding, rather than stomping. During my session, I learned that one of the benefits of doing this is the reduced risk of injuries, so I HIGHLY recommend this for runners of all types! As week two kicks off, I am looking forward to getting out there and running some longer distances. Keeping warm and loosening up my muscles will be a challenge yet again, but come April 3rd, when the race is over, I will be thanking the cold weather for making me a stronger runner!

Do you have any tips to share about running in the cold or snowy weather?