Five Easy ways to Prevent Windburn

What is Windburn?

Windburn is dry, chapped skin as a result of prolonged exposure to cold, dry air.

Windburn is a misnomer as it is caused by your body’s response to cold, dry air. Wind speeds up the process of damaging your skin but is not the primary cause.

Sunburn has similar symptoms but is caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun. It’s not unusual to get windburn and sunburn together.

Moisture evaporates from your skin through a process called Trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). This is part of the natural process your body uses to maintain your skin, the largest organ in the body.

When your skin is exposed to cold, dry air your body responds by dilating blood vessels near the surface of the skin. This increases blood flow to restore normal skin moisture and temperature levels.

Over prolonged periods of time and in harsher conditions, the rate of evaporation exceeds your body’s capacity to respond. When normal skin temperature and moisture levels cannot be maintained your skin becomes damaged and you get windburn.

In the short term, wind burn results in red, dry skin which may become chapped or crack. In the long term, repeated or extended exposure can cause permanent damage and pre-mature aging of your skin.

Sunburn is caused by exposure to the sun’s Ultra-Violet (UV) rays. Similar to windburn, UV rays also cause your skin to dry out from accelerated TEWL. More significant is the damage UV rays cause to the DNA in your skin cells. This accelerates the aging process and can also lead to cancer.

It’s not uncommon to simultaneously suffer sunburn and windburn. It’s not uncommon to experience dry, cold and sunny conditions together.

Five Ways to Prevent Windburn

preventing windburn, winter running

The best way to treat wind burn is to prevent it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

For athletes this means training indoors when conditions are harsh or changing the time of day you exercise outside. This is just like avoiding the hottest, sunniest parts of the day during the summer months.

For most athletes, over exposure to the elements is common. We cannot control the environment and sometimes we are unprepared to deal with harsh conditions.

It’s not unusual for conditions to change during a run. If race day turns into a bad weather day, most of us still show up.

Since most of us still show up for races in harsh conditions and still train in less than ideal conditions, we need to take steps to protect ourselves.

Here are Five Ways to Prevent Windburn

1.) Use a skin cream that locks in moisture. Products that contain petroleum jelly, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, shea butter, lanolin or beeswax are good to use.

These ingredients are known as “Occlusives.” Occlusives form a thin non-permeable film on your skin which locks in your skin’s natural moisture and helps prevent TEWL. Check out these articles from Skin Therapy Newsletter and Botaneri for more information on occlusives and products to look for that contain occlusives.

Occlusives stay on the surface of your skin and are not moisturizers. They form a protective layer to lock in your skin’s natural moisture. Since occlusives cannot be absorbed, they can clog pores and cause acne.

A product containing occlusives will need to be washed off with soap and water.

Some dermatologists recommend using sun screen every day. When you know you will be exposed for long periods you should use a sunscreen containing an occlusive. The most common occlusive found in sun screen is zinc oxide.

This is the easiest tip to implement. Keep a tube of quality sun screen in your bag and in your car. Keep sunscreen out of the heat and check for experimentation dates.

2.) Don’t forget your lips. Our lips are exposed to sun every day and the bitter cold of winter does not help. Some chap stick and lip balm is made with bee’s wax and have a decent SPF. Beeswax is a natural occlusive that most people are not allergic to.

I often use chap stick when running. My lips always seem to dry out and it can drive me crazy. I don’t always use a product with an occlusive but I always look for the SPF on the package. Always read the label.

3.) Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time. In the summer time you want to avoid outside activities when the UV Index is highest. In cold temperatures you want to avoid being outside for long periods of time in harsh conditions.

You may have to run at different times of the day or drive the kids to school. When the days are short and the nights are frigid, a treadmill may be your best friend.

If you do have to run in harsh conditions, cover as much skin as possible. Use a lotion with an occlusive on your nose and exposed portions of your face. When it’s below freezing I try to wear lotion even in the dark.

Kids should wear gloves and knit caps for the bus stop or walk home. A baseball hat doesn’t protect ears from frostbite or windburn and has virtually no insulation for your kid’s head.

4.) Break up your exposure time. Your body responds to the conditions and can protect you over the short run. But it needs time to recover from exposure. See the chart below for frost bite. Cut those times in half for windburn and plan accordingly.

Your body will heat up from running but exposed skin is still vulnerable to wind burn. Try breaking a long run into shorter runs and give your skin time to recover in sheltered warmth. Re-apply your skin cream.

You can also break up your outside chores by taking a break from snow shoveling to re-hydrate and help your skin recover.

Breaking up activities is probably the most difficult thing to do. It’s hard enough to get outside when it’s cold. Taking a break could cause you to not go back out.

If the conditions are really bad you may have to use the treadmill or risk cutting your run short. Sometimes a little in-doors cross training is the best bet!

5.) Check the weather forecast; know the wind chill. Quite often winter forecasts will include the wind chill factor. Knowing the conditions is key to protecting your skin.

Use this chart to estimate the wind chill in your area. Click on the chart to get a National Weather Service pdf download.

wind chill, winter running, windburn

It’s important to keep in mind that conditions constantly change. If the air temperature is 20° and you get into a 30mph wind, you have a 1°F wind chill.

Due to the variability of conditions it is best to be a little cautious. Wearing a quality sun screen all the time is a good idea. If conditions are marginal, you should be prepared to seek shelter and change your plans if conditions worsen.

How to treat Windburn

Windburned skin is damaged, sensitive skin. Moisturizing lotion and avoiding further exposure will help your skin recover. Avoid lotions with fragrances or harsh ingredients and look for lotions for “sensitive” skin.

Aloe Vera is a good choice, but consult with your physician or pharmacist for advice on the best treatment for you.

While a hot shower may feel great after coming in from the cold, hot water is not good for wind burn or sunburned skin. If you want a hot shower try to keep the hot water off of your damaged skin.

Hot water and soap break up and wash away the lipids on the surface of your skin. Lipids are the natural oils in your skin that hold in moisture and help keep your skin soft. Try to wash your damaged skin with warm water and then apply lotion.

Run well my friends,

Andy

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How to choose your first 5k

10 Tips for New Runners

I love info-graphics because they’re a quick and easy way to pick up a few facts. By design they are brief and do not cover all of the details.

In the next few posts, I will expand on a few of the items in the info graphic below.

HOW TO CHOOSE A RACE

Price, time and location are all important considerations. When I look at races and plan my year, I schedule most of my races within 50 miles of home. I usually plan one or two as my destination races for the year.

Time. Before you schedule any races make sure you know when the weddings, family reunions, work trips etc. are. You can’t tell your boss or spouse that you can’t go to an event because you have a 5K that day.

I use a spread sheet to keep track of these important dates and plan my races around them.

Price. If this is your first 5K you should know that 5K registration fees range from $15 to $50. The “reasonableness” of the price depends on the charity the race supports and what you get for the money.

A big race with lots of street closures, a fancy medal and a big post race party will cost a lot more than a smaller race put on by your local YMCA. The Y has many volunteers and often has donated food and water.

Large or small, most races support local groups such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club or the local high school track team. Many races also raise money to fund medical research and to support families in need.

Many people run their first 5K in memory of a family member and to raise funds for research. If you find a race that is eight weeks away and supports a cause dear to your heart, sign up and start training.

I’ve paid $50 for a 5K and I’ve even run a few free 5Ks. A higher price does not always equal a better experience.

Many low cost 5Ks do not provide a finisher’s medal. Something to consider if this is your first 5K race.

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR FIRST 5K

If you are new to running the primary consideration should be – when is the race?

If you are new to running, your fitness level on race day depends on how long you have to train for the race.

The Couch to 5K program is an 8 week program. If you are looking to run your first 5K, this program or something similar is a great way to start.

new runners, first 5k, 10 tips for new runners

Eight weeks is a reasonable amount of time to train for your first 5K. With this in mind you can look for your first 5K.

There are many places to look for local 5Ks. Cool Running and Active.com have extensive listings. Local timing companies also list all of the races they are involved with.

Google “5K Boston” but insert your town. You are sure to find a long list of races. It is easy to get excited looking at all of the races and the great causes that they raise funds for.

Before you register for anything, make sure the race is at least 8 weeks away. It’s also a good idea to see if any friends are interested in going with you.

Even if they aren’t running, the moral support is invaluable. You also need someone to park the car while you go get your number!

If your friend wants to run the race also, you can train together!

My next post will look at,
3. HOW TO CHOOSE A GPS WATCH.

 

Run well my friends,

Andy

Cold Weather Running

Cold Weather Running is here!

It may not be Winter yet, but it sure feels like it. I managed to run 23.86 miles last week which brought my total miles run for 2014 to 927.18 miles.

Garmin says the temperature Tuesday night was 28°, the wind was 16mph, so the “real feel” was 17°. Maybe I’m just getting old, but my fingers and toes really feel the bite of Jack Frost even at this moderately cold temperature.

Saturday I finished my week with the 25th Annual Burbank YMCA 5K Classic in Wakefield, MA. This was my 6th in a series of 50 5Ks.

Factoring in the wind chill the temp was 21°. This was a small race with 182 runners. The race was well-organized, but they did not have my name on the registered runners list. I registered on October 19th. This may have more to do with Active.com than the race organizers.

I came in 19th over all and 4th out of 19 men 50-59. My official time was 22:50 or a 7:21 pace. The course was a little long at 3.18 miles, but that’s okay. The previous two races have been short, so I guess it all balances out.

Continue reading “Cold Weather Running”

Winter gear

Winter Gear

winter gear, cold weather running

In January I updated some of my winter gear. I bought some Vermont Made  “Darn Tough” wool running socks. I also bought Saucony running mittens with wind blocking fabric.

The Saucony mittens have been great. Quite often my hands end up sweating after a few miles instead of freezing. I’ll take it.

The wool socks are pretty good. But once the “Real Feel” or “Wind Chill” temp dips below freezing my toes start to go numb.

On the way home from the Burbank YMCA 5K Classic I stopped by the Melrose Marathon Sports. Alison set me up with upgrades.

New Winter Gear

I picked up a pair of balega Enduro socks. These socks are 54% “Mah-rino wool” which is part of their “Drynamix Moisture Management” fiber. Their yarns are manufactured in the US and the socks are knit is South Africa.

Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX, running shoes, balegaI also picked up a pair of Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX shoes. These are constructed more like a trail shoe. The big secret is that they are lined with Gor-tex. I told Alison about my feet getting cold and she said these shoes should help.

I’m running the DCR 5K in Saugus on Sunday in Breakheart. The forecast shows a high in the low 50’s. Our race starts at 9:30 so the temperature will probably still be in the 30’s or 40’s for the race.

I’ll give my new gear a test run and let you know how it goes.

Winter weather is nothing to fool with. If you are a new runner it is now time to get good mittens,  jacket, pants and hat. Wind proof is best if you can afford it.

Respect the distance, respect the weather.

Run well my friends!

Andy

Base miles

Base miles are what we run between races

I don’t have any marathons or half marathons on my schedule. But it’s always a good idea to have a long run in your base miles routine.

“Long Run” means different things to different people. If you are a new runner then four or five miles may be your long run. If you run marathons, then a 10 mile run would be a good base miles long run.

I only have 5Ks on my schedule for the foreseeable future, so 10.44 miles was a great Sunday Long Run for me.

Beyond the rainbow 5k, base milesWhen I looked at the weather Saturday evening, Sunday looked like it was going to be cold. As such I wore my Under Armor gear and Adidas running pants. The pants are wind proof and for such light material really do a great job of keeping me comfortable.

We passed several bank clocks which showed that temps were no higher than 33°. Fortunately we didn’t have any wind so 33° felt pretty good. Even around Lake Quannapowitt there was barely a breeze off of the water. It was really a nice run for such a cold day.

Most of us are still adjusting to the cold temperatures. Two of the guys actually wore shorts today, and they said they felt comfortable, except at the water stops.

Base Miles

My base miles are generally in the 20-25 miles per week range. I usually get these miles through our Tuesday Night Club Run (6.5 miles) and two lunch time runs. Getting in a good Sunday run takes the pressure off to run long at lunch.

When I first started running, I only trained if I had a number for Boston. I did this for about three years. Then I started running a little bit year round regardless of my Boston status. Now I run a few days a week 12 months of the year. Maintaining base miles year-round is crucial if you want to improve your running.

If you stop training completely in the cold weather you will lose most of your fitness in just a few months. Take six months off and you are basically starting all over again. Base miles make it easier to ramp up your training when you do have a big race on the calendar.

Base miles are very important.

1,000 mile quest

As of Sunday, November 16th, I have 913.76 running miles. With about six weeks to go, I only need to run 15 miles per week to hit my goal. I’m feeling pretty confident about hitting this goal.

Are you following my blog through email?

Blogs have what is called an RSS feed. If you subscribe to my email list the RSS feed sends posts directly to your  inbox. What you receive is basically a news letter. In the newsletter, I am able to provide links to additional stories and information that you will find interesting.

I subscribe to a bunch of running related news feeds (RSS feeds) and get interesting articles all the time. Instead of making a post with a bunch of links, I add the interesting links to the newsletter.

I appreciate everyone who follows me through Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress. In the newsletter, I provide additional running related information. I hate to use the word “newsletter” because that sounds dry and boring to me: Many pages full of stuff I don’t  care about.

I sort through these feeds and post what I find interesting as a runner. I think you will find some of the links to additional stories and information interesting also. If none of them sound good, you still get to read my post.

Run well my friends!

Andy

© anagelin

My First 5K November

My First 5K in November is:

3rd Annual Taking Strides for Our Cause 5K for the Saugus YMCA.

The race is Saturday, November 8th at 9AM at the DCR’s Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. Anyone who has run through Breakheart knows about the killer hills. I think there are 5 of them, but there seems to be a new one each time I run through the park.

runner, track, omni runnerThis will be my 5th in a series of 50 5Ks that I plan to run before I turn 51.

I’m not going for a PR or to place in my age group. Breakheart has a series of killer hills that I’ve run many times.

My experience on those hills will be helpful in avoiding an injury.I know where I can run hard in the park and where I need to use caution.

Are you running any races this weekend? Fall is a great season for running and racing with many races of all distances every weekend.

If you are looking to run your first 5K, this is a great time of year to give it a go.

Run well my friends,

Andy

© 2014 anagelin