Running Tips in Cold Weather

Just because the weather is turning colder, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your outside exercise routine. The temperatures may be lower, but following these cold weather running tips may make running during the winter months something you can continue to do and enjoy.

When you go out to run in cold weather, it’s important that you remain warm and dry. This means you’ll want to start with dry clothing in layers. The layers, made of different fabrics, will allow the sweat and moisture to be wicked away from the skin which will help keep you dryer and warmer.

Start with a thin synthetic material like polypropylene rather than wearing cotton, as cotton holds the moisture next to the skin. Polar fleece can be added next to help keep you warm with an additional insulation layer. Finally, use a breathable nylon material for the outer layer. This will protect you against wind and precipitation but will let out sweat and heat so you don’t become overheated.

Of course, even though you want to remain warm, you don’t want to over-dress. It’s better to be a little cool when you begin your run than to feel warm and toasty to begin with and end up being overheated in the end. Most running experts recommend dressing like it’s at least 20 degrees warmer outside than what the thermometer shows.

Don’t forget to wear a hat to keep your head warm. Since up to 40% of your body’s heat is lost through the head, it’s important to wear something to trap that heat. This also means your circulatory system won’t have to work as hard to keep the rest of the body warmer, since it won’t have to warm the blood from the head before pushing it through. Wearing a face mask or scarf can help you warm the air going into your body and keeps your face protected in bitterly cold temperatures.

At some point while you’re running during the winter weather, you may get wet. Do your best to change your clothes and get warm as soon as possible. This will allow you to avoid hypothermia and possible frostbite.

When running later and into the darker hours of the day, it’s important for others to see you. Wear a safety vest or reflective strips on your clothing and shoes. Oncoming traffic will see you from a distance which will keep you from being injured. Wearing bright colors would allow you to be visible against snowy landscapes.

You can also avoid injury caused by frostbite by paying attention to your ears, nose, fingers, and toes. Watch for patches of hard, cold, pale skin which could indicate frostbite. If you do notice this happening, get out of the cold as quickly as possible and slowly warm any areas affected. You will want to seek medical help if the numbness continues.

Avoid becoming dehydrated. Even though it’s cold outside, you’re still getting hot and sweaty. Dehydration may also occur because the cold air has a drying effect. To combat dehydration, be sure to drink sports drinks or water before you begin, during your run, and after your run has ended.

Be careful to pace yourself when exercising in colder weather. You may find it difficult to run as the temperatures fall, so try to run during the warmer hours of the day rather than running early in the morning or later in the evening. Pay attention to both the temperatures and the wind chill to be able to enjoy your run as much as possible.