Coach Culpepper: Don’t Fight the Weather, Deal With It

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It’s often said that running in harsh weather conditions makes you tougher. But does it? There are times to break from your routine and times to push onward. If unusual circumstances demand compromise, be creative with your training. By adapting your workouts with small adjustments or schedule changes, you can still maximize your training efforts, avoid injuries and maintain your long-term psychological composure. Here are a few scenarios in which runners should reconsider their outdoor plans:

Strong Winds

Fighting it: You have planned a long run with a training partner on a standard loop in which you know the mile markers. But when the time comes to do the run, you find that the wind is blowing at 25 mph and gusting even harder. Instead of changing your plans, you forge ahead and get battered by the wind for two hours, which crushes your confidence.

Dealing with it: Instead of starting a long run in miserably windy conditions, you and your training partner delay the run for a few hours to see if conditions improve. This doesn’t mean you are weak or lack toughness; it means you’re smart and want to get the benefits of the long run without the detrimental side effects.

Unbearable Heat

Fighting it: You have a tempo run planned that you normally run at lunchtime, but the weather is much warmer than expected. You head out in the heat of the day and wind up cooked from your efforts as dehydration and fatigue take their toll over the next several days.

Dealing with it: Instead of pushing on through the heat, you consider pushing your workout back a day or shifting the session until later that afternoon, when it is cooler. You get the benefits of running at a sustained tempo pace without the lingering negative effects brought on by the heat.

Unexpected Snowfall

Fighting it: You wake up on a morning when you have a speed workout planned to find that a few inches of snow have fallen overnight. You forge ahead with the workout on your normal loop and find yourself frustrated by the slow pace due to the slippery ground. Not to mention putting yourself at greater risk of injury from the unstable footing.

Dealing with it: You decide to either simulate the workout on an indoor track or on a treadmill, or bump the workout to the next day.

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