Winter Running Tips
Falling temperatures and fewer daylight hours don’t mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running through the cold weather can help shake those winter blahs, improve your energy level, and guarantee that you’ll be in better shape when spring racing season starts. Follow these tips to run safely and comfortably through wintry weather:
Watch for Frostbite
On really cold days, make sure you monitor your fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may feel numb at first, but they should warm up a few minutes into your run. If numbness continues, seek warmth & shelter to avoid frostbite.
Pay Attention to Temperature and Wind Chill
If the wind is strong, dress to keep it out with windblock fabrics like Asics Thermopolis XP shirts or add a wind resistant jacket. Your movement also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. If the temperature dips below zero or the wind chill is near or well below zero, cut your run short, or choose the treadmill, or make it an inside cross train day.
Protect Your Hands and Feet
As much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet. Always wear gloves that wick moisture away. Mittens or gloves with a convertible mitten cover like Manzella’s Hatchback gloves are a better choice on colder days because your fingers will share their body heat. If really cold, think about tucking disposable heat packets into your mittens. For the feet, always use a synthetic wicking sock or use Smartwool socks which stay warm even when wet. However, make sure you have enough room in your running shoes to accommodate thicker socks if you do add thickness for warmths.
Dress in Layers
Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as Asics Thermopolis XLT, which is soft and wicks sweat from your body. Remember “cotton is rotten” because it holds the moisture and will keep you wet. An outer, breathable layer of a micro polyester and water-resistant jacket will help protect you against wind and precipitation, while still letting out heat and moisture to prevent overheating and chilling. If it’s really cold out, you’ll need a warmer layer such Mizuno’s Blaze top or Mizuno’s Breath Thermo material which heats up 3 to 5 degreee when your sweat hits it.
Check With Your MD
Cold air can trigger chest pain or asthma attacks in some people. Before braving the elements, talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions or concerns about exercising outdoors.
You’re going to warm up once you get moving, so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run. A good rule of thumb: Dress as if it’s 15-20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.
Don’t Forget Your Head
About 40% of your body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss, so your circulatory system will have more heat to distribute to the rest of the body. When it’s really cold, wear a balaclava or a scarf over your mouth to warm the air you breathe and protect your face.
Get Some Shades
The glare from snow can cause snow blindness, so wear sunglasses like Ryders(polarized lenses are best) to avoid this problem.