Now that the temperature is dropping and Christmas is only a month away…(!) it’s getting to the point where gyms are packed and running outdoors isn’t too glamorous right now…
But, there are some tips needed to be taken for those times when you do go running in the cold. For people who train for marathons/half marathons, it is simply too difficult to sustain 10(+) miles on a treadmill indoors. Plus, I personally enjoy running in the late afternoon when it’s a little chilly. I think it’s exhilarating!
Also, I know it’s easy to want to stay inside your cozy, warm house, BUT running outside during winter actually can help you burn MORE calories! It’s been studied that your body has to burn more calories just to keep your body warm in addition to the calories burned from running. So, just going out for a 15 minute jog is still soo beneficial! (plus, you’ll likely run faster and have a better pace time to get back to the warmth)
Precautions to take with winter running:
1. Wear bright colors.
Now that it gets darker wayyy earlier, you have to make sure you will be adequately seen while running. Wear bright yellow, neon, orange, or white colors if possible. If you wear all black, you will be sure to be hidden at night! Run on sidewalks if possible to avoid any drivers who aren’t paying attention. Wearing reflective, fluorescent gear or carrying a flashlight are also good ideas.
2. Dress as if its 20 degrees warmer.
You should be slightly chilly when you first go outdoors. You will warm up as you run, so dress in layers and dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. You don’t want to overheat during your run! But you don’t want to freeze either….gloves and a warm hat are must when its freezing out!
Here are some layering tips from “Runner’s World“:
30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
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. Windbrief for the fellas.
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.”
Yes, this may be obvious. But, when it’s cold out and you’re covered in layers, you don’t realize how much you are actually sweating. It’s easy to see and feel your sweat on a hot summer day, but you sweat just as much if not more during winter too. Don’t forget to rehydrate after your run to make up for lost water and sodium in your sweat. Drink plain water AND a sports drink or gels if you worked out for over an hour to replenish lost electrolytes. And make sure you are hydrating all day before you go on a run as well. Keep a water bottle with you at work or school to make sure you are reminded to guzzle regularyl throughout the day!
4. Warm up Pre-run.
Do some jumping jacks, pushups, high knees, etc. to get your blood pumping and your heat rate up a little bit before heading outdoors. Once you get warmed up, it will feel less shockingly cold when you go outside, and your muscles will be ready to go. Help avoid injuries or straining a muscle by making sure you are ready to go beforehand.
5. Change clothes ASAP post-run.
Your core body temp will rapidly drop as soon as you finish your run. To help avoid you from getting chills, immediately change into dry clothes. If you are driving to where you are running from, be sure to bring an extra dry shirt in the car for afterwards. Girls, definitely change out of your damp sports bra asap! Even just the other day when I ran in the cold, I immediately was chilled when I got home only after a few minutes. You don’t realize how damp your clothes get as you’re all bundled up! Drink a warm beverage, load up on some gatorade, and take a hot shower! Getting into dry clothes ASAP is a MUST.
6. Don’t stray too far from your starting point.
Plan your run ahead of time if possible. If you end up running say, 5 miles out from home, and it starts to snow, your feet get damp, you are wearing less clothes than you should, etc. you will want to be able to get home quickly. Aim to run only a few miles out and loop back around, staying close to your neighborhood just in case. If its cold out and it starts to rain, I know I’d want to get inside ASAP!
7. Wear the right shoes.
The less mesh, the better for cold or damp situations. No need to wear any super heavy duty socks, but make sure your toes are warm and have wiggle room before starting your run. For running on trails or in snowy conditions, be sure your shoes have proper treading to be able to avoid slips and falls. Any regular running shoes are fine though in dry winter conditions. I just wear my regular running shoes with a little bit thicker than normal socks!
8. Enjoy a warm bath or warm cup of hot cocoa post-run.
TREAT YO’SELF! You just kicked ass running outside during winter! Now that warm bath or hot cup of hot chocolate will taste EVEN better…enjoy it! ðŸ™‚
Have more questions about running when its cold outside? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below! ðŸ™‚
I have ran 2 half marathons, but I’m still new to the whole “running world”. I have learned alot from my experiences though and would love to answer any questions!