Freezer Training

I run outside year around in all kinds of weather, unless it’s subzero…inside!

I’ve heard of Badwater runners training in a sauna, so for Arrowhead I thought it would make sense to train in a freezer. With that in mind I started looking for someone with a connection in the food industry who could get me into a frozen food warehouse.

Jodee Fisher is one of my long-time runner friends, and her husband, Jay Fisher works for Gordon Food Service. Jay pulled some strings and was able to arrange to get me into their freezer building a few times this summer. I had to sign a waiver, and he had to be there to let me in and out, so I’m grateful to Jay for going the extra mile for me. This morning I did the first of my freezer training sessions.

The main warehouse is big enough that I can run 1/5 mile laps around the perimeter, and they keep the temperature around -6°F. In one corner there is an ice cream room that is kept at -20°F, and I’m guessing that, with the breeze from the blowers, the wind chill is probably -30°F. I spent 2 hours running laps with some 10-15 minute intervals in the ice cream room. I spent about 40-45 minutes altogether in the ice cream room. I actually got “brain freeze” just being around all that ice cream.

In Michigan we can have some serious winter weather, but the temperature rarely dips below zero, so my purpose was to get a little more experience running in subzero temps. The idea was to practice dressing just right to stay on the cool side of comfortable and to avoid sweating. I wore a tech shirt, arm warmers, a Smartwool shirt, a fleece vest, and a running jacket on top, tights and shorts on the bottom, two pairs of socks, fleece gloves with wool mittens, and three hats including a balaclava. I ran an easy, steady pace and felt a little chilly but not too cold. When I finished I had very little sweat on me, although I had ice hanging from my face mask from the moisture in my breath. I had extra layers I could have added but didn’t need to. I did find, as I had expected, that I would need some warmer mittens. It was a good exercise in dressing for the temperature.

Next time I’ll go with some warmer mittens and spend most of my time in the ice cream room.

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