Get Your Winter On!

Saturday was a nice, cold, brisk morning here in Columbus and I decided to head out to our local obstacle race practice course at Scioto-Audobon MetroPark here in town.  I brought along my video camera to show you what can be done, even when it’s cold out.  And, possibly even more importantly, what shouldn’t be done when it’s too cold out.

First, the video:

I didn’t mention it, but it was about 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) out so it was well below freezing.  It had been a little wet the past couple of days with a bit of a thaw, but not so much that the snow totally melted, so it was a bit icy out there on the course.  There was not a lot of running going on with the course, and one of the obstacles (the balance beam, which consists of basically a set of logs to traverse) was downright hazardous, to the point where I gave up rather than get hurt.

I also messed up the filming on one portion of the course – as I finish the tunnel crawl, you can see the cargo nets in front of me.  And my camera didn’t record that obstacle, so we go straight from the tunnel to the sand crawl.  Sorry ’bout that… it’s a really nice cargo net, too.

I promised during the video to share the gear I used.

  • Shoes:  VivoBarefoot Neo Trail Running shoes.  I normally practice/train and compete in Vibram Fivefingers but it was too cold for that today.  The VivoBarefoot shoes are almost as minimalist as VFFs so there was little compromise other than wearing two pairs of socks.
  • Socks:  1 pair wool winter socks and 1 pair cotton ankle socks underneath.
  • Long Underwear: my US Army issue polypropylene long johns.
  • REI Mobility Tights under a pair of sweats.  I wasn’t worried about getting wet given the temperature so the sweats weren’t going to be an issue.  I don’t think REI makes that particular model of tights any more (I don’t get new gear till I wear it out, really – they’re a few years old).
  • A Champion C9 Cold weather long-sleeve tech shirt.
  • An Adidas fleece crew neck, under another Adidas zip-up sweatshirt.
  • A wool watch cap and neck gaiter from Triple Aught Design.
  • And my Nike All Weather Gloves.  They are excellent, heavy duty gloves.  But, as you’ll notice during the video, not great for grip.  I ditched them for the tire flip, the monkey bars, and the wall climb.  But they were fantastic for the crawls and just staying warm.

I didn’t have any problems with the actual cold – I warmed up pretty quickly.  I use the Animal Flow dynamic warmup to get going and it was just the ticket on Saturday morning.

So much more than just to show off, the point of this video was just to show you that it’s not too cold to get out and get things done.  So do it!  Layer up, get some heavy duty gloves and headgear (the places I won’t skimp, you may notice as you go through my gear list above) and comfortable, functional shoes, and do it.  Just because there’s snow or ice on the ground doesn’t mean you have to do the treadmill or anything silly like that.  Work on your resiliency to the cold and also practice the obstacles as much as you can.

But be careful.  You’ll see me slip on the tires as I was making my way through that early obstacle, and I left it in the video to remind you and me to take it easy and scout the course before you head out for the workout.  I didn’t do a lot of running because of the ice on the course, but made up for it with some crawling and other similar exercises.

So do you have a favorite winter workout?  I’d love to hear about it!  Share with everyone below!