Posts Tagged ‘cold’

It was only a week, but I was on a roll. Speed-training, followed by swimming, followed by a tempo run, followed by rowing – I felt great! All that was left of my first week of training under the FIRST program was to get my fast-paced 14-miler in this past weekend.

So much for planning.

I started to feel a little off Friday night, a little tickle in my throat.

By Saturday I was full-blown sick – my head hurt, my nose was congested and runny, I was coughing like a pack-a-day smoker, and my lungs were completely waterlogged. I had to bail on a bowling date with my little one, sending Jess in my stead. I slept all day, hoping that I could lick this thing in 24 hours. With a little luck, I’d get my 14-miler in on Sunday morning and then it was off to my older one’s birthday party.

So much for luck.

I woke on Sunday feeling worse than I had on Saturday. Not only did I not get my run in, but I missed my baby’s party – it just didn’t seem fair to expose her friends to my illness, especially since I was still hacking away.

It’s only one run that I’ve missed so far, but honestly, I still feel like crap and I’ve got another round of speed work scheduled for tomorrow – 3 x 1200m at 10K pace minus 40-45 seconds. If I feel like this tomorrow, there is no shot that gets done.

What if this thing lingers?

What if I get better, but the fatigue doesn’t go away?

At what point do I cut my losses and choose to walk away from Sugarloaf and race another day?

This has been a strange winter to be sure here in the northeast. According to the news we’ve received 8 inches of snow this year. That’s down from over 80 inches last winter and an annual average of about 40 inches. Yet during this mildest of winters I have been sick more times than I have over the last 3 or 4 winters combined. It has not helped my running to say the least, but I think I may know why it has been happening…

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It was 11°F out that morning.


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It’s 35°F outside and I’m walking the kids into school.  I’m in my usual uniform – t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. 

We walk by a mom who shakes her head.

“You are ridiculous,” she says laughing.  It’s nothing new.  She’s seen me dressed like this during the Winter since Katie was in kindergarten.  I smile, saying, “I just generate the heat from the inside.”

And then it strikes me.

Maybe I’m on to something.

Maybe I’ve come up with the next trend in fitness/health/weigh loss.

But how to cash in on this ridiculous theory?


The theory?  It’s simple (and ridiculous, I know) – by sticking with shorts, t-shirt and flip flops through the colder month, my body is forced to generate heat so my core temperature doesn’t drop.  Generating heat requires burning calories.  Burning extra calories means eventual weight loss.  It’s that simple.

I don’t suggest going out in 20° weather and walking around like me if you haven’t done it before.  Just like anything, you need to build up to it – get your engine used to the idea of burning even while at rest.  I’ve been doing it since college, and it took me a few weeks to build up to shorts and a t-shirt level.  Most people assume that I’m from somewhere waaaaaaay up north when they see me walking around mid-winter like it’s a nice, summer day.  Actually, I grew up in South Florida, which, to me, explains why I’m more comfortable this way.  I grew up in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops (when I wasn’t barefoot).

My freshman year in college (in New England) I experienced my first real winter.  That winter, as my gaggle of buddies moved from one fraternity party to the next, I realized just how much of a pain winter clothing was.  Overcoat, gloves, hat, scarf…all of it had to come off when you got to a party.  Then you struggled your way through a sea of people to get a beer, only to then work your way back to your winter clothes to put them back on and move to the next party to do it all over again.

What. A. Pain.

So I stopped bringing the overcoat.  And then the jacket.  Then the scarf, the hat and the gloves.  Even then, when I would get down into the packed fraternity basements, I would still feel overheated, so I finally went to shorts and flip flops.

I haven’t looked back since.


Now, before you start with the “you’ll catch a cold” or “you’re gonna get sick” routine that most of you “layerers” say, understand this – cold temperatures do not make people sick.

Germs, bacteria, viruses – they make people sick.  Cold weather will make people’s noses a little more runny due to heat differential, who then wipe their noses with their hands and then touch the things that you eventually touch.  Those that are already sick end up spreading their germs by not keeping their hands clean.  So don’t keep the layers on just because you’re afraid of getting sick.  Just keep your hands clean.


So who wants to try a science experiment with me and strip for the winter?  20 minutes a day.  That’s all you need.  And you don’t have to do it all at once.  Use the 30 seconds it takes to walk from the parking lot to the grocery store; the 10 minutes it takes to walk the dog for his morning poop; the 5 minute walk from your train to your job.  Just 20 minutes of cold exposure a day and see what happens. You might find a revved up engine, renewed energy and maybe even a little weigh loss.  If you think of it, take a picture of yourself out there among the “layered” and post it to the Run Luau Run Facebook page.

Happy stripping!

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Why do you run?

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