Athlete's Feat

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to run in cold weather

No matter what your winter running preference, keep in mind that safety is key.
This time of year, the country is dealing with a massive Arctic blast of cold weather that has many runners heading to the gym for a treadmill. With wind chills plunging below zero degrees, a treadmill sounds like a fantastic idea. I personally can’t stand a treadmill, but it’s the best option during extreme cold and ice storms.
However, during regular seasonal cold weather, is running safe?
Most experts agree that running during cold weather is safe as long as we take precautions against illness and injury. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting out for a long winter’s run.
1. Watch your step. Keep to a route that is familiar to you. Exploring a winter wonderland is fun, but not when you’re training for your next marathon. Save the exploring for a nice day hike. When you’re running, so many things are happening at once and running while on edge can create a nagging injury. Watch for icy patches and snow-covered mischief. Puddles may not be puddles. A very thin layer of ice is almost impossible to see. Tread lightly in icy weather.
2. Dress for the part. One mistake many beginners make is wearing too much clothing. You want to wear layers that you can peel off as you start to sweat. What you do not want is a soaking wet cotton shirt against your skin. Wear clothing that wicks sweat and dries quickly. A good investment is a wind-resistant jacket for those days of sustained winds. Whatever you decide to wear, keep in mind that about 10 minutes into your run, you will be about 20 degrees warmer. Keep your feet warm with sock liners under wool socks, shoes with weather protecting materials like Gore-Tex and even disposable heat inserts.
3. Protect the extremities. Heat is rapidly lost through our heads. Even if we are adapted to the cold and need minimal layers, headgear is extremely important. Wear a sweat-wicking beanie or hat, preferable one that lightly covers the ears but still allows you to hear your surroundings. That’s a tall order, but if I had to choose head or ears, I would choose to protect my head. As much as 30 percent of our body heat is lost through our heads during sustained cold exposure. After covering your head, find something for your hands. Frostbite starts with the body parts farthest away from your core. While you’re running, your arms are often bent at an angle, which limits blood flow even on a great weather day. Add in subzero temps, and those fingertips are not getting adequate blood flow to protect from frost bite. Cover your hands. Start with a layer of wicking material. If it’s extremely cold or windy, add a pair of wool or synthetic mittens.
4. Protect your eyes. If there’s snow on the ground, you want to prevent damage from the sun reflecting off the ground, especially at higher elevations. Polarized sunglasses will help. Keep a pair close by.
5. Warm up, but not too much. There are two conflicting opinions about warming up during cold weather. Warming up inside allows your muscles to gradually get moving and the blood flowing. Warming up slowly outside will prevent sweating. Use your best judgment. If you choose to do an inside warmup, keep it light. The last thing you want is to start a run already sweating.
6. Wind sprints. The rule of thumb is to run into the wind first. Save the tailwind for the second half of your run. Generally, you’ll be sweating on the second half, and you want the wind at your back. In high-wind-chill degrees, make sure your face is protected. Use sunscreen, deep-moisturizing face cream and a scarf or full-face balaclava (think ski mask).
7. Stay hydrated. This is always a rule. Hydration is important in hot, cold, snowy, windy and perfectly calm weather. During the winter, take steps to protect your water bottle from icing. There are a number of containers that prevent freezing, as well as bottle covers to keep it cool, not frosty.
No matter what your winter running preference, keep in mind that safety is key, injury is a slippery step away and bragging rights for braving the ice is just not worth months in traction. Be smart, stay hydrated and enjoy that post-run shower and mug of hot chocolate.
Hungry for more? Write to with your questions, concerns and feedback.
Katrina Plyler is a full-time teacher and part-time runner, blogger and amateur photographer. She is a regular contributor to the Cooking Light Blogger’s Connection and has been featured in Fitness magazine. Her food photography is regularly accepted in and galleries. For more information on the daily adventures of teaching, running and cooking, check out her blog, Katrina Runs for Food.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Taking a look at the CrossFit phenomenon

By Dr. Lauren Napolitano
CrossFit R5, located in Wayne, is the newest outpost of the incredibly popular CrossFit fitness program.  CrossFit’s star has been rising over the last few years and it’s hard to pick up a fitness magazine without reading about its popularity.  CrossFit has a cult-like following among its disciples but is equally polarizing in the world of health and fitness.  More than any other fitness program, I had to see CrossFit for myself to understand the controversy surrounding this fitness program.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

7 ways to keep the pounds off this holiday season

‘Tis the season for holiday eating. And that means that most of us will pack on about one to two pounds this time of year. While that might not sound like much, annual weight gain adds up year after year.
But rather than put down the eggnog and fruit cake altogether, Dr. Amy Moore, assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, offers a few sensible approaches to enjoying the season while keeping your waistline intact.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

A Guide to Fitness and Yoga on the Main Line

By Lauren Napolitano PsyD
If you live on the Main Line, it’s likely that you’ve noticed the increase in the number of boutique fitness and yoga studios over the years. 
The trend in fitness, it appears, is the devolution of the large mega-gym and the proliferation of boutique fitness and yoga centers. In the past, you’d get a membership at one gym and do whatever classes were offered. These days you have endless options including: hot yoga, mat Pilates, Reformer pilates, indoor cycling, step aerobics, boot camp, mindfulness-based yoga, kettlebells, or barre. 
How can you choose which exercise or which studio to try? Enter Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice and on staff at Bryn Mawr Hospital. "I have always loved the series ‘Urban Athlete’ in The New York Times where a journalist takes a trendy new fitness class and writes about his/her experience. I had always wished that there was such a review guide on the Main Line," Napolitano said. "Rather than waiting for a Zagat-style guide to fitness to appear, [I wanted to] virtually every fitness and yoga studio on the Main Line."
Why would a clinical psychologist invest so much time and energy into exploring the world of fitness? 
Read more »

Monday, August 19, 2013

The ‘I don’t need any help’ syndrome

Editor's Note:
Today's Post comes courtesy of the newest contributing blogger to Athlete's Feat Lauren Napolitano, PsyD. 

Lauren Napolitano, PsyD is a Licensed Psychologist in private practice in Bryn Mawr.  She has been on staff at Bryn Mawr Hospital since 2009.  Dr. Napolitano specializes in helping women to reinvent their lives after undergoing a stressful change (for example, divorce, illness, loss, career transition).  She believes that laughter and exercise are two of the best forms of therapy.  She is the mother to 2 daughters, an avid runner, and an iced coffee fan.  For more information, please visit her website at  

The ‘I don’t need any help’ syndrome
I twisted my ankle running the ‘Race for Open Space’ 5K in Villanova on June 3rd.  Fun race, I highly recommend it.  Being the spaz that I am, however, I rolled my ankle when I tripped on a root.  What did I do?  Ask for help?  Nah, I winced and ran through the pain.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

5 Item checklist for running into the Fall Months

By Paul McGovern
For Main Line Media News

Most of you have been running through the summer or are starting a new running program as you go back to school. The following checklist will keep you running through the fall and will into the winter months with few bumps in the road if you adhere to this blue-print.

5 Item checklist for running into the Fall Months

Body Awareness
Keep minor aches and pains at a low level. If common symptoms increase or are present for more than one week, get the area checked out by a professional. A slight calf strain can turn into a pull and then you will be riding a bike for 2-3 weeks as it heals.

Drink water throughout the day (157 # male needs 64-oz per day/ 124# female needs 52-oz per day) and when running you should not need excessive amounts of fluid while running. On average a will hydrated runners only need 2-oz of fluid every 15 minutes up to one hour of running. The amount of fluid needed past one-hour increases and the need for electrolyte replacement also become a concern.

Dress in Layers- 
The weather this time of year can be fickle, with possible vast changes in temperature and precipitation at any given moment. Try the new performance clothing available at your local sporting goods store. A good light weight breathable rain jacket along with your favorite cotton running shirt and baseball hat. You will have all the bases covered.

Warm Up- 
Jog for 5 minutes prior to any stretching just before the start of your run. This prevents a “Cold Static-Stretch,” which can cause more harm than good with any running program. Stretch all your major muscle groups: back, chest, abdominals, legs, and arms prior to a run. Your body is a “closed-cell system” where all movement is “Toe-nails to Finger-nails.” Meaning; all your body’s muscles are at work while you run.

Everyone wants to be up to race speed today. A good running program is set up in cycles. Most cycles last 4 to 6 weeks and very week there is no more than a 5% increase in over-all running volume or intensity.  Every cycle has a beginning phase, middle phase, end phase and recovery phase.

I hope this simple checklist keeps you moving down the road to all your fitness goals. Upcoming articles will cover the above running list more in depth, and we will look at new fitness treads and concerns.

All the best,


Friday, August 2, 2013

Cecily Tynan is Celebrity Chair for Radnor Run

Cecily Tynan, 6ABC weeknight meterologist and Radnor Run's celebrity chairperson, gets ready to run. Next to her is her husband, Greg Watson. Watson came in first overall in the men's division, while his wife, a former Wayne resident, won her age division. His reward after the race: a kiss by Tynan during his trophy presentation.
From a press release
Wayne, PA—The American Lung Association announces that ABC Action News Meteorologist, Cecily Tynan, has signed on to be the Celebrity Chairperson for the annual Penn Medicine Radnor Run again this year.  Tynan has served as the Chair for the past two years and has won her age category in the 5-mile race that is set to take place October 27, 2013, beginning at 8:30 a.m..  Her husband, Greg Watson, has come out to support the efforts as well.  Watson won the Overall Male trophy last year.
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