There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.
- George Sheehan

Friday, February 24, 2012

How Cold Can You Go?

Above is a video from the Chicago area featuring a local barefoot runner.  The piece is very good - focuses on the basics of barefoot running, the whys, the hows, and the how to get started.  All very solid and reputable information to follow!  The piece also covers running barefoot in winter.

This winter was my first "cold" one as a barefoot runner.  Last winter I spent down south, and mainly restricted to running in shoes for reasons well outside my control, so I didn't get much barefooting in last winter.  This year though, I wondered the age old question posed in this climate:
"How cold can you go?"

Today was probably my coldest run yet.  I've done several runs in the 40's, no big deal at all.  Temps in the 50's is like tropical weather after awhile.  I've also run a few times in the 30's, and after the first couple of minutes, it's business as usual and my feet were perfectly warm.  Today's run started with an air temp in the high 30's, but dropping quickly down to freezing due to a sudden incoming snowstorm.  I snuck my run in anyway and dealt with the wind chill.  Surprisingly enough, my feet never got numb this time around.  Usually they do for a minute or two, then warm up to normal with full feeling of the ground.  Today they were a little cold starting, but never numb.  They warmed up quicker and overall I had a nice 40 minute run with a few tempos in there.

It felt great out there today, and I was glad that I got to run instead of putting it off for tomorrow.  Every run in the cold builds confidence that I can get out there and have a good time and be comfortable.  I still don't think that I wish to try anything in the 20's or teens, but anything in the 30's is fair game for me now and I don't have to think twice about it.  By putting my regular window down into the 30's, I increase my opportunities to go run and enjoy what I do.  The whole point is to keep it pleasant and fun; it's not about pushing my limits all the time or trying to impress anyone.  Because believe me, it's shocking enough to people to be out there running barefoot when the snow is beginning to fall!  ;)

Here was what rolled in at the end of my run.  This photo was taken maybe 10 minutes afterward:

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