Cold Weather Running
With the end of summer, we all know that colder weather is coming our way. Already, the leaves are starting to turn and runners are starting to get out their fall and winter gear. If you’re new to running, you may not have planned for winter. How exactly do you plan for winter running and what do you need to get through the winter months? Let me share my experience and tips with you.
The short answer to running in colder weather is run faster to increase your body heat. The longer answer is probably what’s going to be more helpful though. When I first started running outside in the winter, I had thermal underwear, pants, a long-sleeve shirt and T-shirt, a face mask, scarf, and sweater. I quickly started shedding clothing by the end of the first mile. From this experience, I learned the following:
- More is not always better. You can usually get away with short sleeve shirts for anything above 45 degrees and shorts with a long-sleeve top from 32-45 degrees. For temperatures below freezing, wear thermals, shorts, and a jacket with gloves. Your body is going to heat up quickly when you run so you don’t need a lot of layers. Leggings and tights that provide some warmth without bulk are your best bet so don’t weigh yourself down unnecessarily.
- Your lungs will start to adjust over time. I always feel a burning sensation when I breathe outside running in colder weather. You’ll adjust after just a few runs so push yourself and you’ll see improvements quickly.
- Get good gloves. your extremities, especially your hands are more susceptible to frostbite. Make sure that you have a pair of good gloves that will keep your hands warm.
- Get good gear. In addition to gloves, you’ll also want to invest in beanies or handbands and earmuffs. You can enjoy the fashion side of running with these accessories and you definitely need them when it’s below freezing. Find styles that are comfortable and work for you.
- Make sure you stay hydrated. In the summer months, we drink plenty of water but winter weather doesn’t make you as thirsty. Ice water probably isn’t what you want, but make sure to drink plenty of water before and after you run. There have been a few times during my runs that I had to stop and scarf down some snow for hydration! You can do this also in a pinch, but you’re probably better off with water.
That’s really all you need to know. The last piece of advice I’ll give you is to just get out and run. You’re going to find that it’s easier to increase your time in the winter and you may even love cold water running. It’s going to be tough at first but it’s also amazingly empowering to run in the cold.