Roller Coaster Weather
The weather has not been kind in the past two weeks in Greater Toronto Area. It has been a constant cycle of merciless snowfall, freezing temperatures, or a combination of both.
I barely hanged on with a whole lot more visits to the gym with the treadmills and upper body workout to complement the constant abuse on the lower body from the running mileage. I also managed to stay focused by having online motivations such as an online Strava badge ?. In this case, it was the 5 x 5k challenge as reflected this past week with five consecutive days of running.
Mike's Winter Essentials: Nathan Halo Fire - Review
Disclosure: This headlight was bought out of my own pocket and did not alter my influence for this review
The Halo Fire by Nathan outdoor products is their flagship headlamp especially with runners in mind. It comes with 3 LED lights for various lighting modes. Their product page also claims to have over 280 lumens on their brightest mode - it is bright for sure but at the expense of shorter usage time.
- 5 lighting modes (from dim to max brightness, strobe mode)
- RunWave technology for convenience and less fidgeting during the run
- Reflective materials on the strap
- Product guarantee backed by Nathan --> excellent customer service
Real Life Application
I received my Nathan Halo Fire as a direct replacement from my personally bought Nathan Nebula Fire. The outgoing headlamp stopped charging through the USB charger and was effectively useless if it cannot charge. I reached out to Nathan's Facebook page and they were quick to ship me the replacement (which became the very Halo Fire that I have been using even to this very day) upon proof of original purchase of my defective headlamp. I am pleasantly surprised by their willingness to stand behind the products that they sell and doing the right things to delight purchasers like me. However, I have since been quite wary of all electronic devices that require USB charging - including this replacement piece.
If you are interested in this item or similar, I am pleased to offer $5.00 OFF merchandise over $50.00 or more excluding taxes - at runningfree.com or at an in-store Running Free. Simply apply the CODE: 47794 to redeem this offer from me!
Have a good week ahead! Cheers - M.W.
Moving forward, I am revising the blog title to a much more appropriate "The Uptown Runner" moniker.
The more I observe my own runs within the suburban neighbourhoods, the more I realize of the differences compared to downtown running. More open running space, less traffic stops. More solo running journeys, less so of community-knitted runners out there. And ongoing changing landscapes with non-stop urban development and growth pushing northward in the City of Markham.
Adding Incremental Mileage to Weekly Totals
I have been adding extra mileage to top up my weekly mileage totals for the past four weeks. This is mainly to further build endurance and trying to achieve my goal to reach up to 3,000 km or more by year end. I pushed it even farther to 3,200 km so I have some buffer should I need to take any extended breaks from bodily fatigue or commitments along the way as the days pass by.
New Playlist & Song Sequencing
Indoor Track Work
Gradual Mileage Increase
This year, I am also attempting to raise my weekly running mileage and ultimately pushing the annual goal boundary too. Last year, I set a modest mileage of 60 km / week. And by trying to stick with the program, I realized that I once again have to be even better at my time management skills - as if I haven't already done so. However, life happens and so do injuries along the way. So it goes along way to compromise my regular day-to-day priorities along with my running hobbies. At the end of it all, I managed to rack up approximately 2,800 km. Not bad but fell short of my personal goal of 3,000 km.
The realistic goal for this year would once again be 3,000 km. But I am raising the bar higher to 3,200 km. In other words, I am once again setting my weekly goal of 60 km plus an extra 5 for good measures if in the case of any minor setback.
I came across an interesting article from Runner's World, suggesting of the 6 training habits that lead to Boston qualifying times - according to Strava. I feel confident knowing that the tailoring for this year's training is mostly aligned to what the article states.
The Strava 40|80 Challenge hosted by Lululemon was also great motivation to kick start the frequent running habits to. By the end of the event, I managed to rack up roughly 82 km within 13 days. Hopefully my drive towards improvement continues on for the remainder of the year, and not limited to just being motivated by prizes and tangibles ??
Have a great week everyone! - M.W.
Double Digit TEmperatures to Deep Freeze
The perfect analogy to sum up the weather this past week in the Southern Ontario region is one heck of a roller-coaster at its best. The short term warm temperatures lead to slushy, slippery conditions which actually makes it even more difficult to run than it is in those frigid cold temperatures. You are more likely to get all muddy and miserable than ever while also having added risks of injury while trying to dodge puddles or thawing ice chunks on the road. Speaking of which, the risks of getting sick is also at an all-time high - especially if you are not properly dressed for the weather outside.
Speaking of outside, here are my recommended suggestions of what to wear or to layer up for temperatures within the 0 to -15 degrees celsius or colder.
Layering Up: becomING a Suburban Uptown Winter (Runner) warrior
(2) Athletic Technical T-Shirt + Hoodie / Tights (aka Compression Pants)
If you have run multiple races or participated in various charity runs, I am sure that you have more than enough of those t-shirts (whether cotton or technical). I recommend choosing a moisture wicking kind of shirts so that sweat can be transported out easier, leaving you comfortable and conditioned amongst the warm layers of clothing. Long sleeves work too.
Bonus: Q: Do you run with music from your smartphone? A: Based from experience, smartphones tend not to survive all too long in the Canadian cold. Battery life rapidly depletes quicker than usual when exposed and it is best to keep your phone warm during the run. Even if it involves minor inconvenience, wear your sports strap on first before wearing a second layer such as a hoodie.
The next layer would be best if it is either a hoodie or a thick fabric sweater that you intend to abuse, sweat profusely, and wash repeatedly. It is essentially your insulation and storing as much heat as you can from the running.
For the lower body, I suggest either a pair of performance tights or if last resort, joggers. As crazy as it sounds, tights will indeed make you more nimble and not feel like you're running in a sumo wrestler's suit. Most tights are also equipped with some sort of reflective strips to make sure you are visible at night (in addition to other apparels with other reflective imprints)
(3) Wind Resistant Jacket
Now that you have coated yourself with some lubrication for rigorous movement and sufficient clothing layering for insulation, getting a wind-resistant jacket top things off for your wintery run.
Happy running and stay safe out there! - M.W.