Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Katarzyna Radzka Runner Cook

Warsaw XXII Independence Day Run

A Runner’s Life is a blog about running, eating and having fun. Polish runner Katarzyna Radzka says she appreciates the smaller things in life and hopes her dreams will become her reality. She talks here about running in sub-zero temperatures and preparing for a winter of running in the snow.

Polish runner Katarzyna Radzka says -5C (23 F) is the coldest weather you’ll see her out running in. And with all the snow piling up over Europe and America in the last few weeks, she’s had plenty of chances to test that resolve.

But in spite of living in Warsaw, the biggest city in Poland she still loves to get out in the nearest park and run. Katarzyna says “I love running in the forest. I’m lucky to live near the Mazowiecki National Park and also have some woods on either side of my street which makes the forest very accessible for me. I love being surrounded by nature, hearing the birds chirping, breathing in the fresh air instead of car fumes, and the stillness of everything.”

She says that winter just involves making some adjustments to her routine, but she’s determined to keep going, saying she loves: “The euphoric feeling afterwards. There are days when I don’t feel like putting on the running shoes, but when I do I never regret it – however, when I don’t, I kick myself over it for hours.”

So I asked her for some advice for those of us new to running in sub-zero temperatures.

“Stay hydrated and dress in layers when you’re going for a run. I wouldn’t recommend running when it’s colder than -5 although I’ve heard people run even when it’s -10 or more. If you haven’t run in the snow or below zero temperature than start slow, twenty minutes is enough. If you want a longer run simply split it into two and do 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. And most importantly be careful – it can get slippery. Keep the endurance runs and interval training for the treadmill if the temperature is too low.
Otherwise enjoy, I’ve found running in the snow very relaxing recently.”

Dressing in the right gear is key to having fun when there is an inch or two (or more!) of white powder on the paths. Katarzyna says: “This is one of my problems. My partner was kind enough to give me a pair of winter running pants for Christmas which I must say are wonderful to run and keep me warm.”

And she adds, “I tend to dress in multiple layers – sports bra, shirt, jacket and jumper - which I must say sucks but it’s a necessity here. I haven’t bothered to change shoes for the winter as the ones I have are working out fine for the time being.”

Katarzyna spent many years living on the Gold Coast of Australia, where running involves beaches and lazy sunsets, a big change from a Polish winter. She uses races to keep her motivation high saying that competition is the thing. She swam competitively as a child, and that urge just doesn’t seem to leave us.

Mexican Soup from Katarzyna
You’ll find some great running food ideas on her blog A Runner's Life as well as training tips.
It’s sports' best kept secret – the more you run the more you can eat and eat and eat.  Pre-race food varies from person to person, she says: “My usual breakfast before a fun run consists of a bowl of unprocessed oats, banana, mixed nuts, flaxseed oil and milk. I find that this gives me enough energy for a long run, I tried having scrambled eggs once, which is what I always have at the weekend, but it didn’t work out too well.”

Although you might be surprised at some of the food Polish race organizers hand out. Katarzyna says: “Once after a race the organizers gave us pea soup, and lard on bread with pickles. Lard is very popular here in Poland especially when it’s consumed after a shot of moonshine (bimber) or vodka – though I wouldn’t recommend eating it after a run unless you’re used to that sort of food.”

Do you have any questions for Katarzyna, post them here!


Jonia said...

Polish connection-great!:-)I went for a few runs over Xmas in Krakow:it was around -5/-7 and I thought my lungs would explode after 20 minutes but it was great fun running in the snow!

real girl sport said...

Really?I am very impressed, I walked a lot here but couldn't really get any speed up without coughing! It's dropping again this week so maybe I'll do some more!

a runners' life said...

Krakow would be lovely to run around :)
I'm finding that each run in the cold gets easier and more enjoyable. Plus there's the lovely scenery where everything is white.