Winter Running Tips
Have you signed up for your first 5K of the year yet? Maybe your New Year’s Resolution involves running more. Either way, it’s time to get started right? Wait, what’s the temperature outside? 10 degrees? Oh no. I can’t do another day on the treadmill but I’m going to freeze if I run outside.
If you’re like me, and you live here in New England, you’ve faced this dilemma every winter. However, if you plan and dress accordingly, you can survive and get a good run in outside even during these extremely low temperatures with the following cold weather running tips.
Have a plan. When it’s cold out, it’s best to plan your route before you leave. There are plenty of sites available, like Runkeeper or MapMyRun, that will help. It’s a good idea to plan your route to include places you could stop along the way, since you never really know how cold or wet it might be while you’re out there. Weather can suddenly change, wet feet will freeze, then what? Be flexible and have a backup plan in case conditions get worse and you need to cut your run short. There’s always tomorrow!
Bring a friend. As mentioned above, you don’t know how it’s going to be until you’re out there, so why go alone? Invite a friend or co-worker, or join a “group run” with local running club. Not only will it keep you motivated and give you someone to chat with along the way, it’s safer. If you do have to run alone, let someone know where you’re planning on going and get a runner’s I.D. to wear on your body or your clothing.
Dress appropriately. You want to dress in layers, but how many of layers you wear isn’t as important as what type of layers you wear.
- Active.com suggests dressing for 15-20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature to let your body temperature increase, and reduce the risk of overheating.
- Start with a wicking layer, a shirt or tank top that will pull the moisture away from your skin
- Select a mid-layer like a fleece, for those extra cold days
- Top layer should be wind and water resistant
- Warm running pants or tights, and if they’re water resistant – even better
- Thicker sole running shoes, like trail running shoes have more tread for traction on slippery or uneven surfaces
- Don’t forget the accessories – lightweight winter hat or headband, gloves, moisture-wicking wool socks, and a scarf or fleece neck warmer that you can slide over your mouth and breathe thru to prevent burning your lungs by inhaling frigid air
What not to wear
- Avoid cotton as it doesn’t evaporate your sweat fast enough
- Heavy gloves will be too warm and difficult to take off if needed
- Worn-out running shoes can lead to injury
- Heavy clothes can cause you to overheat or sweat too much
Stay hydrated. When it’s cold outside, your body has a harder time regulating hydration. As we know, fluid is lost from sweating, but it is also lost from the air you exhale. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) close to 95% of hypothermia cases result when people go out without being hydrated sufficiently. Replenishing the lost fluid is key to prevent dehydration.
Now that you’re fully prepared to hit the cold pavement, let us know how it goes and if you have any tips to add.
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