Today it is a high of 16 degrees. Windchill of -8 degrees. NEGATIVE EIGHT. Fantasies of warmer running are over – it is simply not going to get any better. For us crazy runners that are adamant about avoiding the dreadmill at all costs, here are some tips to keep you warm (and safe!) during the winter months.
1. Get Motivated
Run with friends. Make plans. Anything to keep you responsible for hitting the pavement even when the temperatures drop. Another great motivation tip is to sign up for a holiday fun run to keep racing on your mind. There are plenty that feature runners dressed up as Santa Claus with hot cocoa waiting at the finish line.
2. Arm Your Feet
To keep warmth in and the snow out, run in shoes that have the least amount of mesh. If you cannot afford a new pair, use duct tape to cover any mesh on the tops of your shoes. Also, wear socks that will wick away any wetness and still keep your feet warm.
3. Get Dressed
You want to be warm enough, but not too warm that you sweat so much that you get a chill. Dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer than your thermostat says. Opt for layers of technical fabrics to wick sweat, with zippers at the neck to vent air as you heat up. Always wear gloves and a hat.
30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm.
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.
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.”
If we can do it in nine degree weather, so can you.
4. Be Seen
As the temperature drops, so does the sun – odds are you’ll be running in the dark. Wear reflective, fluorescent gear to make sure oncoming traffic can see you around the snowbanks.
5. Warm up Pre-run
Move around inside enough to get the blood flowing, but not enough to break a sweat. Run up and down your stairs or do a few jumping jacks to get you warm before you open the door to the freezing tundra that awaits.
6. Deal with Wind
We all know the worst part of winter running is not necessarily the cold, but the wind. Start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back, so the breeze doesn’t blast you after you’ve broken a sweat. Also, protect any exposed skin. Use BodyGlide or Vaseline on your nose and cheeks to prevent frostbite and wind burn.
7. Forget Speed
“Winter running is more about maintenance miles than speedwork,” says Feerst. Simply keep yourself healthy for race seasons and don’t do anything stupid.
8. Change Quickly Post-run
Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running, so to avoid the chills, change your clothes as soon as possible. Put a dry hat on wet hair and drink something hot. Grab that hot shower shortly after you come in from your run to bring your body temperature back up to normal.
9. Deal with Rain
If you are from a particularly rainy area, rain might be a bigger factor than the wind or the snow. Keep your feet dry by patching up mesh on the tops of your shoes. Change your socks and shoes as soon as possible after coming in from a run. If you need to dry your shoes overnight, crumple up newspaper and push it tightly into your shoes (with the insoles removed). This is dry them more effectively.
10. Go Someplace Warm
Oh wouldn’t this be nice? When Florida is normally too hot and humid to run during the summer months, now they are experiencing optimal running weather. Sign up for a race down south if you want to keep those motivational juices flowing. [Source: Runner's World]
What do you do in the winter months? What is your favorite weather to run in?