I hate being cold. If you do too, take heart. Your outdoor running routine needn’t go into hibernation for the winter. With a certain amount of planning and preparation—and the right cold weather gear— you can safely lace up and continue training in the fresh air.
Here are my tips to help you run in the cold and shake off the winter blues:
Dress In Lightweight Wicking Layers.
• How you dress can make or break your winter runs. You want to be warm without sweating so much you get a chill. So avoid overdressing.
• Wear several thin layers of clothing to trap warm air between each layer. This includes socks: Wearing two pairs of polypropylene socks keeps your feet warmer and drier than one heavy pair.
• The most important layer of clothing is the one closest to your body so make sure it’s made of fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin.
• Your outer layer should be a wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest. It’s critical to protect yourself from the wind and rain.
• If it’s really cold out, you’ll need a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for added insulation.
Cover Exposed Skin As Much As Possible.
• On moderately cold days, wear running gloves that wick moisture away.
• Once the temperature dips below freezing, a hat and gloves are absolutely necessary.
• When it’s really cold, wear a facemask or scarf over your mouth to warm the air you breathe and to protect your face.
• When running in the snow, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and snow blindness.
Start Your Run Into the Wind.
To avoid a chill, head out into the wind and it will be at your back at the end of your workout once you’ve broken a sweat.
With limited daylight, chances are you’ll be running in the dark so wear reflective gear and/or a headlamp to ensure people can see you.
Take It Easy.
You’re at greater risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly, run easy and forget about speed.
Change Quickly Post Run.
If you’re wet, change your clothes —head to toe—as soon as you can and get warm by drinking something hot.