Temperatures across the states may be moderate right now, but Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter so we are willing to bet that everyone isn’t out of the woods yet. So how do you deal with ramping up your training when it’s cold and snowy outside? We asked Olympic marathoner Jared Ward the same question. Jared lives and trains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah so he’s no stranger to winter. Here’s what he had to say.
Hey Jared, how did your 2016 season wrap up?
My season really ended in Rio. I hopped in the Rock and Roll Brooklyn race in Oct hoping to rust bust and I was just too beat up. I took 3 months of training at 50 percent, with a lot of that being cross training. I'm now back on the horse training at 90 percent.
Did you take an off-season? Cross training?
Yes, this season more than I have since going on an LDS mission right after high school. I put a lot into Rio (the Olympics). I trained hard, and pushed my body through some acute injuries. My favorite cross training is mountain biking, but in the Utah winters I settle for a stationary bike watching whatever new Disney movie my kids are into.
The snow started to fall in the SLC area pretty early in the fall last year. In fact, the area has continued to have record snowfall amounts through the winter. How does this effect your training?
The snow affects me some, yes. But Utah is rarely cold long enough that the snow and ice on the roads is an issue for too many days. I've had some good runs on the treadmill, and coach has put me on the indoor track, but for the most part training has been OK.
Running in the snow – yay or nay?
Yay. At least when it is fresh. I love to be the first to run through it... But I don't like it when things get icy.
Do you use any special gear for running in the snow and/or extreme cold? Any temperature limits to running outside?
No temp limits that I have hit yet :) Layers is key. When it's real cold I wrap up in my Saucony Razor jacket and my ulti-mitts gloves.
How does the winter affect your nutrition – both while running and in recovery.
Winter is the best time to cuddle up watching movies and eat junk. The holidays also add to unnecessary eating. I create rules that limit my junk, but that allow me to enjoy the season. If I over focus during Christmas it makes it harder to focus now when it matters more.
My advice is to think damage control during the winter and pat yourself on the back for every good run/workout and each healthy meal that you passed dessert on.
Do you still drink protein shakes even though it is cold out? Any favorite winter-themed combos?