8 tips for running when it's cold

  Posted on December 07, 2016 09:04

1. Get Motivated

Make a date to meet someone for a run, there’s no wimping out when someone is waiting. The club’s Sunday and Wednesday group runs are very popular in winter when the average temperature is 5°C. When you go for a run, you should tell yourself that you can go back inside after five minutes if it’s really bad. Usually you just stay out there and you just go running.

Our opinion? A night run during a light snowfall is one of the most peaceful things you can experience.

2. Arm Your Feet

To keep warmth in you should run in shoes that have the least amount of mesh. If you have shoes with Gore-Tex uppers, all the better. Make sure that you wear socks that wick away wetness but keep your feet warm.

3. Get Dressed

When running in winter you want to be warm without sweating too much. The rule of thumb is to get dressed as if it is 20 degrees warmer. You should be slightly cool when you start. Layers of technical fabrics, to wich sweat, with zippers at the neck and underarm area to vent air as you heat up, are great things to use during winter. You will learn your own preferences but there are some general guidelines, assuming you always wear gloves or mittens and a hat.:

  • 30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
  • 10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
  • 0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
  • Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
  • Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, says Arribas, “Stay inside.”

4. Be Seen

With limited daylight, chances are you’ll be running in the dark. Tall snowbanks on plowed streets make you even harder to see. Wear reflective, fluorescent gear, and don’t be shy about lighting yourself up like a Christmas tree. Some people are using a headlamp or carry a flashlight to see where they are going and more so people can see them.

5. Warm Up Pre-run

Move around inside enough to get the blood flowing without breaking a sweat. Run up and down your stairs, use a jump rope, or do a few yoga sun salutations, even a speedy house-cleaning works too. The cold doesn’t feel that cold when you are warm. If you are meeting a group of running buddies it is no good idea to stand around in the cold chatting before you start your run.

6. Deal with Wind

Start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back, so the breeze doesn’t blast you after you have broken a sweat. To avoid a long, biting slog, you can break this into segments, running into the wind for about 10 minutes, turning around to run with the wind at your back for five minutes and repeat. It can be a good idea to run along big buildings, they can block it.

7. Forget speed

Winter running is more about maintenance in miles than speedwork. In very cold weather you should look for ‘inversions’, places that are elevated and where the air will be warmer. When you can’t run in the middle of the day when the temperatures are warmest, it may be a good idea to run twice a day. Five km in the morning and five km in the evening, normally that’s much better than doing a long 10km run where you might get very cold towards the end.

8. Change Quickly Postrun

Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running. To avoid a lingering case of the chills you should change your clothes as soon a syou can. Women need to get out of damp sports bras quickly. Put a dry hat on wet hair and drink something hot. When you are driving to a run you can always take a thermos of green tea, hot chocolate or coffee in your car with you.

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