Monday, February 1, 2010

Its' Time for a Night Run!

So in the end, I caved and registered for this big scary Death Race...Figured I'd better start running.

I've never spent much time running in the winter before...Most winters, I ski - period. The main reason for not running has more to do with a healing process which I kind of need due to the heavy pounding my body takes in the summer. I've always had issues with my biomechanics, leaving my body screaming for a break by the time winter comes - so I listen to it. The winter break gives a chance for my bones, tendons and ligaments to heal, and by springtime, I'm ready to go.

For the most part, I find winter running to be very restrictive - there's nowhere to run! The road? There is no way I'm going to run on the road - not gonna happen. I know, I know...most of you year-round runners are saying: "What wrong with the road?" Well, it's flat, it's hard, and boring. Did you read the above? Well, read it again...and read between the lines...'bone on bone'...not good for Philly's knees - and the pavement doesn't get any softer in the winter either! "Why don't you try snowshoeing?" Uh...not gonna happen either. I've tried it, it's ok. It's kinda like snowboarding...I tried it - I didn't like it (don't take this personally, but it's just not my 'thing').

So anyways, back to winter running...Lucky for me, Canmore hasn't had much snow this year so I've been running on the high traffic trails about 3 to 4 times/week (or whenever I can), just trying to get the legs turning and skip that painful ski-to-run transition when the dirt turns to mud in the spring. Last winter, I bought myself a wicked
AY-UP headlamp, making running (or skiing) at night a dream - What a difference! I've actually been looking forward to training at night just so I can use the headlamp - it's super light, and almost as bright as Big Blue's high beams, lasting over 7hrs!

If you've never run single-track at night, it's time to give it a try...I find it incredibly exhilarating. The terrain is never the same, like a new trail every run! Your focus is 100% on the 'beam' of light in front of you. Your legs and body give the illusion of running at warp speeds, your adrenaline surges through your body, most of it fed from the complete darkness around you. You dodge branches, cruise on the flats, and put all of your trust in your SpeedCross' to hold on to the sharp corners or steep descents...The cold dry snow grips well. You stop...You see your body heat rise. Your breath becomes visible in the light's glow...You look around deep in the forest. You spot two glowing eyes peering at you motionless...

You start running...faster now.

You stop to look back...and see nothing. You take a deep breath and start running again.

Time to go home


Deb said...

Whoa...Clearly I do not have a good headlamp! I've never run at at night on the trails before...definitely have to try it out at some point! Sounds like it's going to be a big field at Death Race this brother is doing it too...and Gary...I opted out this time round, maybe next year! I'll settle for being Steve's support this year!

Adamo said...

Hey Phil,

Yes, I agree that night trail running makes you feel crazy fast. Run towards the light!!!!!

Crazy theory here, but do you think that a bit of year round running might actually help some of your injury issues? Keeping your body used to some impact, while still skiing a lot and then building up the miles as the snow melts. I agree about snowshoeing, more like hiking than snowboarding. Hiking is fun and all, but it ain't running.

I'll be curious to see how it works out and yes, I look forward to some outings through 2010!

Phil said...

Deb: Yeah, should be a big crew out there...Looking forward to it more and more every day!

Adam: I guess I'll find out if this 'crazy' theory of yours works as I've never run this much volume (avg 3 days/week) in the winter before. I think the key for me is also making sure I strengthen my core, and lower body stabilizer muscles - Either way, I'm keen to make it an injury free spring/summer!

Tom Craik said...

Ahhhh, the night runs. I love'em. That lamp looks bitchin' though. I'm all about the Princeton Tec Apex, but that thing is a miniature sun. It brings daytime to the nighttime.

No offense taken on the snowshoeing. It's fun and a great way to maintain fitness, but it's just not the same as a run.

Inspired by your Death Race commitment. Way to go!

Derrick said...

Adam beat me to it with his comment about year round running possibly making you healthier.

As for snowshoe running...I'm surprised that as a trail runner you haven't embraced it. Maybe it's the conditions and yes running in deep snow, even with snowshoes, is a slog, however on packed trails and moderate snow conditions it makes for great trail running. The right type of snowshoe makes a big difference.

BTW...just heard that Jonathan Wyatt is running World Invitational Snowshoe Race in BC.

Jude said...

beautifully said ;)