It’s tempting to push our running shoes farther into the back of the closet when we look out at dark streets in Sooke, soaked by a cold rain. We could wait for the long, warm and dry days of summer. But nothing is better to beat the winter blues than some rigorous exercise – whether a run, walk or cycle.
Here are some suggestions to make outdoor exercise in our community more appealing, safer and more fun.
• Exercise partners. A joint exercise session is a great motivator to actually leave the couch for a little while at least. Many groups in Sooke meet regularly to run, walk and cycle. It’s not hard to find out when and where. It’s also a great way to make new friends. Some arrangements are informal, as with the employees at the District of Sooke office who sometimes manage to fit in a run during lunch.
• Quality footwear. Water resistant shoes and boots, together with moisture-wicking socks, can make a big difference in warmth and enjoyment on a cold, wet day. Good grip or traction is also important on the ice covered slopes and trestles in the Sooke Hills.
• Proper clothing. The aim is to dress to be warm without sweating to the point of a chill. Technical fabrics which expel body moisture and offer protection from the elements are available.Even relatively skimpy running gear can be expensive, however. So try the local thrift stores or wait for a sale. Don’t forget to wear a hat. It’s also a good idea to change into dry clothes after being outdoors which provides a good excuse for a hot shower or bath.
• Visibility. Given our short days, some exercise will likely be in the dark. The rain makes people walking on foot or bikes even more difficult for drivers to see, especially at road crossings and on road shoulders. Please remember to obey the traffic signs. Visibility is vastly improved by wearing reflective and fluorescent gear as well as headlamps and flashlights. The latter also helps to follow the trail at the end of a long day hike or forest run. Reflective tape and lights also makes bikes more visible.
• Snacks and liquids. Cold weather exercises use up calories and body fluids, so it’s smart to carry some energy snacks and drinks.
• Check the weather. It’s difficult to anticipate the weather where it changes every 20 minutes. If the Sooke forecast is for heavy rains, snow or high winds, it may be better to be cautious and postpone an outdoor workout until another day.
– submitted by the Sooke Trail and Road Runners