10 Tips For Running in Cold Weather

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Although spring is surely on its way, Colorado experiences the most snow in the month of March. So far winter has been incredibly nice in Fort Collins, with most days hitting 60’s throughout February with only two relatively large snow falls. As much as I am ready for the warm weather again, I know I still have some time to go. And since I haven’t posted on my Health and Fitness board in a long time, I thought I would share some of my best tips for running in cold weather.

1. Know your body

I, unlike so many others, love running in the cold. I don’t get bothered by it and feel that I not only run faster, but better. (This is also due to my asthma being exceptionally more affected by heat and the summertime plants in full bloom act as my triggers.) Know how your body will react to the cold and how that will affect your run

2. Resort to other types of running

I’ve always hated running inside–whether that be on an indoor track or treadmill. But this winter I’ve really gotten used to running on a treadmill every day, and although I am much slower pace-wise, I feel safer, I’m avoiding icy trails, and I am close to home.

3. Dress appropriately

For me, I get pretty warm pretty fast when running. Its a good idea to dress around 20 degrees warmer than it truly is, but you know your body best.

  • 90-100 degrees: Run inside or take a break day. Its too hot to run outside for more than a few minutes!
  • 80-90 degrees: Shorts and a tank top, drink a lot of water!
  • 70-80 degrees: Shorts and a tank top/t-shirt
  • 60-70 degrees: Shorts and a t-shirt
  • 50-60 degrees: Cropped leggings and a t-shirt
  • 40-50 degrees: Cropped leggings and a long sleeve
  • 30-40 degrees: Full length leggings and a long sleeve
  • 20-30 degrees: Full length leggings/pants and a light sweater/jacket, gloves and hat
  • 10-20 degrees: Full length leggings, long socks, and a jacket/coat, gloves and hat
  • 0-10 degrees: Run inside or take a break day. Its too cold to run outside for more than a few minutes!

4. Wear a mask

A mask not only protects your face from the cold, but ultimately can help you from having “track hack”, or coughing a lot after your run and helps keep your asthma in check.

5. Stay close to home

Try to stay close to where you live, that is popular enough for other people to see you, in case of an emergency from falling on ice or if you’re getting too cold for comfort.

6. Don’t run on icy trails

I have great running trails near by apartment, but they aren’t cleared of ice in the winter so I stick to campus trails instead. I wouldn’t want to slip a mile away from home with no one there to help!

7. Hydrate just as much as you would if it were warm

The cold weather works your body in different ways than when it is warm even if you aren’t sweating your guts out. Constant hydration is still a must to take care of yourself before, during, and after your run. Drinking warm water will help hydrate you best (in both summer and winter months) so be sure to drink up!

8. Prepare for the wind

Winter comes with a lot of elements: snow, ice, and most importantly, wind. I like starting my run into the wind, not only because I am most energized then, but because of the work my body is doing. Running against the wind first will prevent your sweat from freezing when you are running back, making you feel much colder than before.

9. A quick warm-up is a good idea

Getting your muscles warmed up, along with some blood and heat flowing through you, is an easy way to prepare you for your run. Stretching before and after your run is also something you don’t want to skip out on!

10. Have fun!

At first, running in the cold can seem dreadful. But its a great way to experience your runs in a whole new way, and you’ll be a lot faster while you’re at it too!

Happy March and happy running!

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