9 Tips and Tricks for Running in the Cold Weather
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The cold season is upon us. While the fall weather is so beautiful to run in, there can be some pretty chilly days. This shouldn’t discourage you from running, but it certainly changes things up a bit. Some people shut down their running in the summer and others in the winter. But if you have some hand dandy tips to get you through, it’ll make your life a lot easier on those chilly run days.
1. Cover Up
Don’t go running in your tights and tank top when it’s cold and think you’ll just “warm up”. You won’t warm up enough if it’s pretty cold. If it’s below 50, I always run with my headband or beanie and gloves. The first things that get cold on me are my head, ears, and hands. If one of these gets cold, I can’t concentrate on my run and I’m miserable. Your legs and arms eventually go numb if they’re cold, and they’re getting blood so they can operate, but your head, ears and hands are getting NOTHING. So bundle up. This is my favorite running headband:
2. Wear Layers
The best thing to do when it’s cold is to layer up. Don’t go bigger, go more. Running with a hoodie is hard, believe me, I’ve done it. And if you want to take it off, it’s a pain to keep with you. Layer up in thin layers, so if you do get warm, you can take them off. You can run in 2 shirts. I have done a light sweater before, and that was fine. It wasn’t too bulky and it was pretty cold, so I didn’t end up taking it off. I hate having to carry things when I’m running, or feeling bogged down by my clothing. You want to not have to think about your clothing when you are running.
3. More planning
Running in the cold takes a lot more scheduling, just make sure to plan ahead. Plan your long runs on the warmer days and shorter runs on the cold days. You might have to skip a day or two and do some more cross training, if you can. Also try to run in the “hottest” part of the day. You may not be able to run first thing in the morning on some days because it’s so cold. Maybe if you have access to a treadmill or an indoor track you run inside on those really cold days.
4. Pick your temperature
Always check the weather before you go on a run. Maybe even go as far as to plan the week in advance depending on the weather. Check the temperature so you know how to dress appropriately. Also create your own temperature gauge. What temperature will you not run in? What temperature will you bundle up in? It’s different for everyone, but they say that you can gauge your run temperature if you add about 10-20 degrees to the temperature outside. So, if it’s 30 degrees out, your running temperature will be about 40. Know you limits and know how your body responds to the weather. Everyone is different and it might take some trial and error.
Here is my temperature gauge:
Below 30: I don’t run. One time I ran when it was 18 degrees outside thinking I’d be fine. NOPE! It was horrible. I ended up going home early because I was so cold after layering up! If you have to run, wear everything in your closet. OR 2 layers of clothes: shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweater on top. Then, tights, shorts, pants on bottom. Double socks, head band and beanie, goggles are also nice and gloves.
30-40: A dri-fit shirt, light sweater, or dri-fit long sleeve shirt, warm head band, gloves, yoga pants, thick socks.
40-50: 1 Long sleeve shirt, yoga pants, gloves, warm head band.
50-60: 1 Long sleeve shirt that rolls up easily, yoga pants.
60-80: Yoga pants and a dri-fit t-shirt or tank top.
90-100: I don’t run, but if you have to, run in a nudist colony so you can wear your birthday suit. If you must run, tank top and shorts or yoga pants.
5. Run into the wind
Start your run by running into the wind. It’s much harder going into the wind and you’ll have more energy when you start. Also, on the way back you’re covered in cold sweat, which makes it awfully chilly in the wind.
6. Get a Short-term Membership
Consider getting a membership when it gets cold. There are month to month or 6 month plans you can do with some gyms. I did this one year for about 3 months, and loved it. You don’t have to worry about the cold. You don’t have to adjust your schedule in anyway or make sure you packed your gloves, you just go, run and be WARM.
7. Be Prepared with Back ups
Be prepared on the really really cold days to put off your run for a day and do something different. The winter is a great time, if you’re not training for a race, to work on strengthen your core, legs, and butt to make you a better runner. It’s also a great time to get into some cross training workouts. Work some other muscle groups, or the same muscle groups in a different way. Start Yoga to become more flexible, or start biking with a stationary bike. Make a backup plan if running doesn’t work out one day. If you have a plan in place, you’re less likely to get derailed from your goals or throw off your routine.
8. Don’t Stay in Your Clothes
After you run and sweat like crazy, your clothes are wet and cold and then you get wet and cold. If you’re running right after work, or going somewhere to run that isn’t close to home, make sure you bring a change of clothes.
9. Remember to Stay Hydrated
Remember to stay hydrated. Just because you’re cold, doesn’t mean you aren’t sweating or depleting your water intake. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise.
Stay warm, and happy running.