As in any form of conditioning, the best exercises to use as back-ups for the running muscles are those that best use the leg muscles as they are used in running. Water running has produced the best effect for large numbers of marathoners. Cross-country ski machines have also produced a high level of running conditioning. For burning fat, the best exercises are those that elevate the body temperature, keep it up, and use lots of muscle cells. Cross-country ski machines, rowing machines, cycling and other indoor machines can help to increase the fat-burning effect. (Galloway, Jeff. Marathon: You can do it! Shelter Publications. Bolinas, CA: 2001.)
Running in the Cold: As the temperatures drop closer to race time, one should consider what to wear on race day. I read a great article in the Dallas Morning News’ running blog about what to wear while racing in cold temperatures. The link to the full article is below, but I’ve highlighted the most apropos tips for shorter races. And the tips equally apply to routine training runs as well. http://goo.gl/3M4PP
- To make sure you stay warm, you need to protect only two areas of your body: your head and your hands. For your head, a synthetic fabric tight cap is fine. They keep your head way warmer than a baseball cap. But a baseball cap will keep water from your face if it rains. You decide what’s more important.
- Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves, because you can close up your hand inside a mitten. I usually wear gloves, but you decide what works best for you. If you suffer from cold hands on mild days, wear what’s warmest for you and don’t worry about the weight.
- Experienced runners wear shorts in almost any weather, but if you’re worried your legs will get cold, or if you’re walking, wear tights, but not baggy pants.
- Wear a tight-fitting long-sleeved tech shirt for your top. That’s probably all you need on top if you are running and not walking. If you’re walking, wear a waterproof jacket over it.
- Stay hydrated (drink before and after a run).
- Be sure that you have been fitted in appropriate running shoes.
- If you are just starting take baby steps and gradually increase your mileage.
- Be sure to rest. You don’t need to run every day!
- Be sure to cross train.
- Find a running partner to help you stay accountable