As the temperature drops, running outside can be tough. Just remember that even when the weather turns ugly, there’s still plenty to be gained if you can get out there and run. Fresh air, a little bit of sunlight, and the training benefits of running on real ground rather than a treadmill are all good reasons to brave the elements (as long as you can do it safely).
Dressing properly is a big part of running safely and comfortably. Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure you’re suiting up like a pro.
Your layers. Layering is the name of the game when it comes to cold weather running. Not only will it keep you warm, but it’ll also give you some leeway to peel off your outer shell if you get too toasty. One thing to remember? Wet weather means keeping cotton away from your skin. Wet cotton stays wet and will make you wet too. Think synthetic for your innermost layers.
Your feet. If the weather is purely cold and dry, you might not need to do anything out of the ordinary with your footwear. Cold and wet however may be a different story. Running in cold, wet feet is a recipe for all kinds of problems, from painful blisters to more painful frostbite. Warmer, more water resistant shoes (even if they aren’t the lightest or highest performance) can be a good move for more extreme environments. Wool socks can also protect you tremendously ; see above on the dangers of cotton. If the ground is icy, be sure you have tread up to the task, too.
Your skin. If the weather is really cold you’ll need to protect any exposed skin, regardless of if you’d usually think about it as you bundle up. We’re talking about wind chill here, not just the temperature on the thermometer outside the window. Hop online or tune into some TV news to see what the windchill is before you venture out. Extreme cold means you’ll want to cover up any exposed skin. Even if it doesn’t feel vulnerable from the front stoop, you’d be amazed at how fast things can get uncomfortable once you turn a corner and feel the brunt of the wind.
Your warmup. One of the tricky parts of dressing for cold-weather running is that you need to suit up inside but plan for a workout that’s going to bring your body temperature higher and higher as you go. Your layering can help, but ideally you won’t want to be messing with wardrobe adjustments mid-run. What to do about it? First, remember that it’s okay if you’re a little chilly when you first hit the road. You’ll warm up. Second, you don’t have to wait until you’re outside to start getting your body temperature up. Consider warming up on a treadmill or even just doing some intense circuit exercises before you even step out the door. You’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
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