Today’s topic for Tuesdays on the Run is cold weather running. Since both Patty and April are from warmer locations, I can’t wait to see what they write LOL. I, on the other hand, am a Wisconsin girl at heart and refuse to embrace my inner southerner. I am totally going to ignore the fact that I’ve lived in the south for nearly 30 years. (Seriously? How did that happen?)
I’ve written about how to keep active in the winter before, but we are being told that we have another Polar Vortex winter heading our way, so here we go again. Last winter was wicked cold, like “living in the north” cold, and yet, I managed to run a lot of my runs outside. So, here are my best tips for running outside in the winter on cold, cold days.
1.Warm up inside. When it’s cold outside, you are likely to want to wear more clothing than you should. Too much clothing = too much sweat = getting really damp. Being damp is not a good thing if the sun goes behind a cloud or your turn into the wind. So, you should dress as if the weather is about 20 degrees warmer than it is. But who wants to start running when they are already shivering??? A handful of burpees, a few mountain climbers, or a few trips up and down your interior steps will raise your heart rate and warm you up and that first mile of a winter run will be a lot more pleasant.
2. Zippers are your friends. Even if you dress appropriately, you will find that wind and clouds can greatly affect how warm you feel on the run. In the coldest weather, I wear a zip up jacket from Sugoi(affiliate link) over a half zip. This offers me two zippers that I can pull up and down as the need dictates (and trust me, I’m constantly adjusting).
3. Wear layers on your hands and invest in good socks. Personally, I very seldom need more than a single pair of gloves and I very seldom make it through an entire run with gloves on. For some reason, my normally very cold hands get hot on the run. Some people swear by mittens because it keeps your hand all together. For your feet, I’m a huge fan of Smartwool PhD socks
(affiliate link). I ran in some seriously cold weather last winter and my feet were never cold. (I’ve also had friends cover their shoes with duct tape to cut down the breeze, but I’ve never tried it.)
4. Wear a hat or some other form of head covering. If your head is warm, the rest of your body will stay warmer. I have a couple of winter hats, but I also run with a baseball cap with a Bondi Band. It’s a bit lighter, so as I heat up, I don’t end up too warm, plus it’s easy to uncover my ears.
5. Have an escape plan. This is perhaps the most important tip I can give you. When it’s cold outside, it often doesn’t take much for the weather to go from a really cold run to a dangerous run. Know where you can stop and warm up. Have a cell phone to call for a ride home. Or run near your car or house. Hypothermia is no joke. Frostbite is painful. You don’t want to go there.
I’m a firm believer that with the right clothes and the right preparation that it is possible to run outside for the majority of the winter. As one of my friends says regularly, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. And when it’s below freezing? Check out these tips for super cold runs.