- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 25, 2004

There’s no need to alter your workout plans just because it’s cold outside, especially during the holidays, when people tend to gain a few pounds.

Holiday overeating isn’t necessarily responsible for the extra baggage we carry around after the holidays.

We start gaining those pounds throughout December because we tend to shut down our running and exercise during the last month of the year because of shorter days of light as well as the extra part-time job of preparing for the holidays.

Who wants to run outside after work when it is dark by 5 p.m.? And how many times have you gotten home after dark and just didn’t have the motivation to go back out in the cold to your fitness center? HINT: Go directly from work to workout and do not stop at home.

Few people truly enjoy running in the cold. But as long as you stay warm, you can run in any weather the Washington area throws at you. Attitude is critical. Proper clothing is important, too.

Everybody says layering is the best weapon against the cold. I have found that an Under Armour-type shirt is the perfect first layer. Then a fleece outer top and if it is really cold and windy, a wind breaker. My tights vary by thickness, and I always err on the side of too heavy.

I travel with a bag of hats and gloves of varying heaviness, plus a neck warmer for the most extreme days where the least amount of skin exposed is the best.

Remember that you always can take off layers and tie them around your waist if you dress too warmly. All runners have a horror story about a run when they didn’t dress warm enough.

Keep in mind, too, that the winter poses more risk of dehydration than the summer. Indoor radiators dry out your home and office, and your layers of clothing can hide the actual extent of the sweat you lose. Do not be afraid of water.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to reflect on the year and set new goals for the coming year.

I challenge you to do one thing in 2005: What is the biggest excuse people in the Washington area use for not exercising? No, too lazy isn’t it. We all hear people say there just isn’t enough time. If your running is important to you, make the time.

Take out your new daytimer during the next week and put an X through at least one hour a day for the entire 365 days. I designate that hour on my schedule as an appointment with “me.” That is my time to run or have an active rest day of bicycling or swimming or kayaking or a massage, etc.

And be vigilant with that appointment time. Do not let anybody take it away from you, not even once. As long as you make it a non-negotiable appointment, you always will have time to exercise and achieve your goals for 2005, whatever they may be.

Gray is good — The name may not be pretty, but let’s face it, when you call your new magazine “GeezerJock,” you will get attention.

The first issue of the publication dedicated to masters sports and fitness hit the streets last week, and it was surprisingly impressive. From both an editorial and advertising basis, the magazine is deep with interesting articles and information about the chronologically advanced athlete.

The feedback from masters athletes has been positive and why not? This is the first time a magazine has been dedicated to masters sports, not just masters track like the newspaper-formatted National Masters News.

From swimmers to baseball, tennis, basketball and hockey players to track and field athletes, the glossy pub should be an inspiration to younger athletes nearly as much as the older folk. The GeezerJock Interview features 52-year-old Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, the pro football player turned masters sprint star.

The market is huge and untapped, with 120 million Americans aged 40-plus in 2000, according to GeezerJock, which hopes to cash in big. Get your free subscription by signing up at www.geezerjock.com.

Crack me up — Could you find a better title sponsor for a midnight New Year’s Eve run in Central Park than Emerald Nuts?

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