Great times come from some adversity. I’m not sure who coined that term, but darn tough times create individuals that can withstand some of the hardest storms thrown at them. Well, it is without a doubt that getting through a winter with some bone chilling cold workouts is a cause and effect to anyone involved with athletic endeavors here in the upper midwest. We don’t have Mountains but we have cold spells that can challenge some of the most ardent winter warriors out there.
Winter is mild here without much of a sprinkling of snow (< 3″) at any snow fall, and usually disappearing within 3~4 days. This is where that chill comes in. See, with snow we can be assured of some sort of buffer from the chill that comes along in January and usually stays until maybe mid March. It is comical you see. Here we want a bed of snow to help damper the effects of the bone chill of the cold that comes along around this time of the year. I believe it does help keep the dew point a bit low keeping that chill going through you like an ice pick.
Well, we’re patiently waiting for the day when we get that damper of snow fall to see us through the early morning workouts since it is freaking icy cold as soon as you step out of the house and you’re cold as hell right from the start. Getting out of the car I get a chill going down the back of my neck as if I had a little snow drift going inside my jacket even though there is no snow around. Funny how perception is in the mind of the individual. I for one begin a breathing tempo no matter what exercise I’m about to perform from just walking with my ruck on or performing an exercise to breath only through my nose. Deep inhale, pacing / tempo of 3 in with 3~4 out. Nothing via the mouth.
I have to slow down a little more than usual to catch my breath if I go faster than my breathing pattern allows, and it mitigates discomfort than just mouth brings. I have to admit and be transparent on this method. It clears my mind, makes breathing feel good, watery eyes are not always an effect of nasal breathing. However snot rockets are NOT unheard of. Make sure you perform the ‘farmer john’ really well. No half assed attempts on that issue since you don’t want to wear snot on your clothing/beard/mustache. Or even worse blowing it out while a runner/rucker is going by as you do it. Funny as hell, but dangerous also since it’s your health that will be affected if you don’t miss that said individual.
Since temperatures have been dropping we’re having to move with a bit more intent. Getting warm, and keeping warm are two things that meet in the middle. Difference is effort and effect. You can walk and get warm, and to some extent while warming up for exercise / workout you can be specific on movements to mimic what you’re about to perform on said workout to get your muscles and connective tissue to move better without the possibility of injury. Rucking is so unique a movement when just putting on the ruck weighted to specific weight for the workout is more than enough to warmup said body within a certain period of time and movement that it feels more comfortable and you’re breathing a little more labored than just plain ol’ warm ups do. Trust it will do the same for you.
Living in a cold climate is something that many have learned to adapt to, and to some extent thrive in. As I grew up watching people dress differently in changing climates there was always a fringe few that really did not follow the norm. I found them to be interesting how when the temps dropped to 30 F /1C they’re still wearing freaking shorts!!! Ok, do they know something I don’t? Like what rocket fuel is in their bloods that precludes them from wearing normal clothing like me (2~3 layers) to get warm. I mean, come on. I’d love to be able to do that. Then, I stumbled upon none other than the Iceman himself Wim Hoff, over a year ago and I have learned that you can become more than what you perceive you are limited to being.
This should come as not surprise to anyone that there is health to be had if you fix yourself, not just by resting, and eating right. Not only exercising alone will help and according to Mr. James Nestor who’s done some serious research and paid his dues/cut his nails on said subject matter on this subject. What subject is that? Breathing. Yes, breathing will get you squared away. Don’t take my word for it. I’ll not be paid for not expect to be paid for expressing my desire for you to try it. Firstly read his book. Breath – The New Science of a Lost Art. Secondly, practice it. You will be leaps ahead of your peers in health, and stamina. Don’t take my word for it. Just try it.
These past couple of weeks at RuFF we’re getting a little more comfortable doing things in the cold, and frigid temps are not going away any time soon. So, layering and moving will continue to be our focus. Getting and staying warm through breathing, and moving is key. Then coffee (for me) is essential post workout. Enjoy.
Stay warm, but get cold to start. It’s important and beneficial for you to exercise in the cold. I will change your outlook on winter dramatically. Trust to process, do the work, and reap the benefits.
See you next time,
Mi A Gi