Hydration in the cold

Registered Dietician Clara Lysecki from Corydon Physiotherapy discusses staying hydrated in cold weather.


Vaseline and you.

Yep, I went there. Behold the runners guide to Vaseline.

  • Ever see volunteers hand out sticks of petroleum jelly at a race? If parts of your body chafe when you run long distances—thighs, arms, nipples etc—put some Vaseline on those areas before your run to prevent rubbing. There won’t always be a friendly face en route handing you a stick of jelly. And if there is, it’s always just a tad embarrassing to take it.
  • Slather—and I mean slather—your face with Vaseline when running in the cold with an unprotected or partially protected face. Exposed skin on your cheeks, nose, forehead and lips are at risk of windburn and frostbite. The Vaseline will protect your skin from pain and discomfort.
  • Mix Vaseline with sea salt to create an exfoliating scrub for your skin.
  • Use Vaseline throughout the day and before bed to heal chapped/dry lips and skin.
  • Use Vaseline as part of your treatment plan if you have athletes foot. Listen to your Doctor too, of course.
  • Put Vaseline on your feet in areas that are prone to blistering before a long run. Vaseline isn’t water based and won’t wash away from sweat.
  • Put Vaseline on your feet at night and cover them with socks. You’ll wake up with softer, smoother runners feet. It is usually better for runners to soften calluses than remove them—they’re there for a reason.

Have you got another use for Vaseline? A running related use… you sly devils. Comment with your best tips below!

Splish splash

Running on pavement = not bad.

Running on compact snow = do-able.

Running on fluffy snow = slippery.

Running in slush = death.

Winnipeg couldn’t have been more ready to dip back down from arctic temperatures to something semi-livable last weekend. From skating at the forks to going for a stroll in shorts, people celebrated the comfortable winter temperatures. I celebrated with a jog and it was a slushy, sloppy mess. I was overdressed, STILL managed to chap my face and dragged myself through way too much slush and puddles. One treat, however, was the clean pavement that peeked through.

The forecast predicts some more unusually warm days this month, so enjoy the weather while we have it but keep in mind important cold weather basics that I managed to mess up.

  • Wear moisture wicking socks. It’s still cold enough for a cotton sock to make your feet cold from perspiration. Plus, if you wind up running through some slush, your feet will feel a bit more protected from wetness with a proper sock. Acrylic is a good moisture wicking fabric.
  • Re-evaluate your runners. Many running shoes have areas of mesh to maximize breathability. If your runners have a lot of mesh, you’re asking for trouble in wet conditions. You can buy trail running shoes that are suitable for winter, but I recommend a shoe with minimal mesh that can be worn all seasons.
  • Protect your face. When it’s really cold, a scarf, balaclava or bandana is great. When it’s not too cold, still consider putting Vaseline on your cheeks. The condensation from your breath will moisten your face. If you take a walking break or do a cool down, your face will get cold again. This change in temperature can lead to uncomfortable windburn or chapped skin.
  • Cover your head. Because you lose so much heat on your head, it’s important to cover up, even when the temperatures are closer to zero. Your ears especially can get cold. Again, thin moisture wicking fabric will keep you more comfortable and prevent overheating.
  • Don’t overdress. I spend a lot of time finding ways to keep warm, but when the weather is nice, overdressing can be brutal. You should never need more than three layers, even in the most frigid temperatures. In temps -10(ish) or warmer, you probably don’t need your insulation layer.

New Year, new me?

Five days into the New Year, most of us have already decided on our New Year’s resolutions. Some haven’t “officially” started yet because they are still on holidays and it has to start on a Monday. Some have already broken them because they reached too high. I have a friend who refuses to make New Year’s resolutions because she feels like she should better herself every day of the year.

I’ve already known my New Year’s resolution for a while, to work up my running endurance so I can complete a half marathon next month in one piece. How quickly time passes! Thankfully, I didn’t slip too much during the holidays and continued my workouts despite eating far too many goodies.

I live right by a YMCA/YWCA and look through the windows at the folks on the treadmills every morning when I commute to school or work. As per usual, the amount of people on those treadmills has skyrocketed this week. I expect that next month it will look about the same, and the month after they will be back to normal. I’m all for making a commitment to get in shape for the New Year, but it’s a crazy hard thing to accomplish in a dark, gloomy, and frozen solid city that is apparently colder than Mars at the moment. I have certainly been in the running shoes of those who don’t last long with their resolutions. At times, it can be a real struggle to motivate myself to bundle up and go for a run outside. It’s not like I have to get my money’s worth out of a gym membership. I’m constantly reminding myself of how great it feels afterward, especially if I power through unfavorable conditions. And let’s face it, perfect conditions are hard to come by in Winterpeg.

So what’s the key in finding a New Year’s resolution that fits? Well I don’t know! Only you know what you’re capable of. However, I’ve put together a list with my favorite tips from Gaiam Life on creating and keeping this year’s resolutions.

  • Recognize a job well done and reward yourself for reaching milestones on the way to your goal. If you don’t trust your will power, reward yourself with something that doesn’t contradict your goal. For example, rather than eating an unhealthy meal as a reward for weight loss, reward yourself with a new piece of gear or athletic wear.
  • Be persistent and it will only get easier. It takes about 21 days to form a habit, and about six months to be ingrained in your personality.
  • Make your goals known. The more you tell friends and family members, the more accountability you might feel to continue with your goals. Finding a buddy with the same resolution is a great motivator. There are also apps for just about everything such as My Fitness Pal—a calorie counter, workout tracker, and online community to motivate friends.
  • Be realistic. I’d even set the bar low. Why? When you reach a goal, you can go on to set a new one. It’s better to spend the whole year working towards easier goals and continually surpassing them than to reach too high and give up entirely.
  • What are the consequences? If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. However, plan in advance what your expectations are for yourself and what are the consequences if you don’t give your resolution your all. Call a friend? Practice positive thinking? Extra effort next time? Make it work for you.