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Last week, I wrote about why it's important to exercise outdoors during the winter. "Easier said than done," was a common response from our readers. So, today, I'll focus on what we can do to make these workouts as effective and pleasant as possible.

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Surprise: it’s the winter and it’s cold in most of the country. It seems like it was just yesterday that I wrote about how to manage outdoor workouts during the scorching summer heat. How quickly we forget the sweltering sizzling summer this time of year as we bundle up, trudge through the snow, slush and ice, and try our best to manage winter storms and frigid temps.

It's almost instinctive for many of us to take on a less active lifestyle to cope with the winter freeze. Evolution has led bears, bats, and skunks to go into the seasonal deep sleep known as hibernation to get through the winter when finding food is most challenging for them. Humans don't have the luxury of sleeping through a season, but many are tempted to stay in, watch Netflix, and enjoy the comfort of a warm home, while cutting back on their outdoor workouts.

Here are 5 Reasons for Outdoor Winter Workouts:

1. Get a Better Workout

There’s a reason we hesitate before exercising when it’s very cold: it’s a lot harder on our bodies than when the weather is comfortable. Our circulatory systems must work harder to move blood throughout the body. Over time, exercising in the cold increases cardiovascular endurance for improved athletic performance during all seasons. Battling the elements also requires our bodies to regulate their core temperatures, which burns more calories.

2. It Will Get Better

Just like working out for the first time in weeks is intimidating and leads to an unusual amount of soreness afterwards, getting outside for that first frigid workout is tough. However, each individual workout becomes easier as we warm up and become accustomed to the temperature. Over time, winter workouts become more comfortable as we build up a tolerance for colder routines.

3. Improve Your Warm-up

It’s easier to skimp on stretching and warming up when it’s 60 degrees outside, as most of us love getting out there to run, bike, and train. When it’s 10 degrees, a proper warm-up is mandatory, and it’s hard to forget. Alena Hall, Associate Editor of Third Metric at The Huffington Post says, “Winter workouts will encourage you to become a pro when it comes to full warm-up and cool-down routines, the former to keep your internal body temperature elevated, and the latter to reduce unnecessary tightness inspired by the chill in the air.”

4. Get Some Vitamin D

Vitamin D, considered very important for bone health, is naturally present in few foods. According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 30-50% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Even though it’s cold, getting outside during the daytime exposes us to sunlight, which is a great natural source of vitamin D. Just remember to apply sunscreen, as we are still susceptible to harmful sun rays when it’s freezing, and, contrary to what some fear, sunscreen does not prevent our bodies from producing vitamin D.

5. Be Happy

We know exercise improves our mood and reduces stress. When it’s cold, our moods can suffer more than normally. Exercising in the cold produces more endorphins because our bodies are working harder to moderate their temperature. The results are happier and calmer moods after working out.

As the saying goes, “‘Wow. I really regret that workout,’ said no one ever.” This is even truer when it’s super-cold out. Getting out and starting is the hardest part.

We'd love to hear from you. What are your favorite outdoor workouts during the winter months? Comment below or on our Facebook page at facebook.com/flytefitness, or tweet us at @flytefitness.

Be Flyte Fit,

Jeremy Greenberg

Co-Founder & CEO
Flyte Fitness

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The Boston Marathon is days away and it's an exciting time for anyone who's in the last stages of grueling marathon training. This is the first year since 2010 that I am not running a full marathon. However, I want to pay tribute to the tens of thousands who will run those 26.2 miles this Spring.

For those who are running in an upcoming marathon, here are 26.2 reasons you're ready for your marathon.

1. You did your long runs

By now, you've completed your longest run: typically 20-22 miles. You've already run 80 percent plus of the race distance. You know that you can run that last stretch to get to 26.2.

2. You will be rested

I can't guarantee that you'll get a good night's sleep the night before your big day, but if you've followed a proper training plan I know you'll have tapered. You will have gone three to fours weeks without a significant run (by marathon training standards) and your body will be rested.

3. You'll finish

Over 90 percent of entrants completed the Boston Marathon, arguably the hardest marathon of all, last year. The chances are heavily on your side that you will complete your marathon.

4. You'll be lighter

Your body may not weigh less on race day, especially after a carbo-load week. However, you're carrying more than your body. One thing you won't need to carry is a hydration pack on your waist since there will be water awaiting you along the course. That means a reduction of three pounds you have to lug around. Less weight means an easier run and even a faster one.

5. Crowds will motivate you

All the lonely runs by yourself prepping will be well behind you on marathon day. Along the way, you'll have crowded streets with excited onlookers cheering you on. Signs. Balloons. If you're lucky, some familiar faces. These will bring you extra energy.

6. It's your first (or not)

You've either run a marathon before or not. If you have, you know you can do it. If you haven't, you've got that extra motivation to accomplish one of the greatest challenges of your life.

7. You'll be hydrated

Even if you did your training runs with a full belt, vest, or other reservoir of water, you likely didn't have the luxury of sipping a cup of water each and every mile. Volunteers will provide you with water every mile so there's no need to bring it.

8. You'll have electrolytes

All marathons offer some form of electrolyte fluids along the course in addition to water. That Gatorade will prove helpful in refueling you and replenishing lost sodium and potassium.

9. You'll have better weather

Fall and Spring races have a nice advantage over other periods of the year: the weather is perfect for running. You've trained in the freeze (for Spring marathon training) and heat and humidity (for Fall marathon training). You'll race in a nice, mild climate.

10. You'll eat well before

You will avoid fatty foods and eat healthy portions of carbs and proteins that will give you the fuel you need to push through.

11. You'll drink well before

You will abstain from alcohol during the week or two prior to race day. You will take extra time to hydrate yourself by drinking a few additional glasses of water each day.

12. Pacesetters will guide you

Even if you’re not running for time, it will be helpful to see the men and women holding large pace time placards. These visual symbols of your pace will serve to help you manage your energy output and optimize your speed.

13. Your gear is familiar

You know which shoes, shirt, shorts, sunglasses, lubricant, and GPS watch you’ll be using. You’re comfortable with what will be on your body because you’ve done many runs in your gear.

14. Your marathon is on a weekend

Most likely your race is on a Sunday (Boston is on a holiday Monday). That means you’ll have time to get settled if you’re traveling and have a chance to de-stress from work and avoid distraction.

15. You've trained

You’ll followed a regimen for four months or more, gradually increasing your run distances and speeds over time. Millions have followed a similar plan and succeeded in crossing the finish line.

16. You’ll have camaraderie

Even if you’re running the race by yourself… you’re not. Along the way, you’ll feel a great sense of solidarity – especially as you take on the last miles and push through together. Other participants want you to succeed and will support you.

17. You’ll have a name tag

You still have time to get a customized shirt with your name on it. I highly recommend this. It’s amazing how good it feels when you’re signaled out of the race crowd and strangers cheer you on by name due to simply putting your name on your bib or shirt.

18. You will be inspired

Last year, when I ran the New York City marathon, I saw multiple disabled participants – including one runner on two prosthetic legs. Your fellow runners have overcome a variety of challenges and witnessing their fortitude in action will inspire you.

19. You will inspire others

For one day, there is no doubt that you are a role model. Most people can’t fathom the task that you are undertaking and are in awe of your dedication.

20. You’ll rest after

After the race, you’ll have plenty of time to relax. Experts recommend taking off as much as one month prior to running again in order to recover. After months of a multiple-run week schedule, you’ll have some time to rest. This is your last hoorah prior to this well-deserved break.

21. You’re not too old

Unlike most sports, long-distance running is great for people of all ages. You think you’re too old to run a marathon? Nope. Each year, many people in their 70s and 80s cross the finish line. The oldest person to complete a marathon is Fauja Singh, who crossed the finish line when he was 100 years old.

22. Oprah did it

In 1994, Oprah Winfrey ran the Marine Corps Marathon. She broke 4:30. Not bad at all. Other celebrities who have completed marathons include Ted Koppel, Drew Carey, and Al Roker. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t consider any of these celebs athletes, yet they did it and so will you.

23. You’ve made a commitment

You may be running to raise money for charity, or to bring attention to a cause, or to prove to others that you can do it. More importantly, you made a commitment to yourself that you will reach your goal.

24. The miles will fly by

People are usually surprised at how quickly the race goes by. It’s amazing how fast you pass the miles as you’re caught up in the excitement of the day’s event.

25. The second wind phenomenon is real

Energy levels ebb and flow throughout the long race. The concept of a second wind – a sudden performance boost after a period of fatigue – is real. Scientists hypothesize that it comes from “a release of pain- and stress-relieving endorphins from the pituitary gland.”

26. You have faith

You’ve visualized yourself confidently rushing the finish line countless times. You know you can do it and you believe in yourself.

26.2 That swag is yours

You get to wear that finisher medal and jacket and other cool swag once you win. For one day, and perhaps more, you'll be able to wear your medal with pride. You won’t forget this day and you’ll have cool swag as a reminder.

I hope that those of you in the last stages of your fall marathon prep feel encouraged by this post. We at Flyte Fitness wish you all the best with your races! We'd love to hear from you. Is there anything important that we missed? Comment on our Facebook page at facebook.com/flytefitness or tweet us at @flytefitness.

Be Flyte Fit,

Jeremy Greenberg

Co-Founder & CEO
Flyte Fitness