When it comes to running there are a ton of excuses that people make as to why they won’t go. “Not enough time,” “too sore,” or “too busy with the kids.” Although these may sometimes be a justified excuse, one excuse that shouldn’t prevent you from running is “it’s too cold out.” Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t run. There are steps you can take to make sure that you stay warm and that your body is ready to run in cold weather.
First and foremost, you must wear the right attire. Finding that comfortable spot between too much and too little is essential. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer. You should be slightly cool at the beginning of your run because as your run progresses your body will naturally warm up. Too many layers will cause you to become too hot during your run, making you uncomfortable, while too little layers will cause you to become too cold. Being too cold can cause muscles to tighten up, which could lead to injury. Finally, make sure that you’re wearing shoes with minimal mesh. Mesh allows heat to escape and also allows water, snow, or slush to get in.
Warm Up for Your Run
Moving around and getting your blood flowing, without breaking a sweat, is another important tip for running in cold weather. You can run in place, up and down your stairs, or even jump rope. Having your body warmed up will have muscles ready to go but more importantly, make going out into the cold, not so cold.
Work with the Wind
You should try to start your run going into the wind and end your run with the wind at your back. This will make it, so you aren’t getting hit by the wind after you’ve broken a sweat. If that’s not possible, you can also break your run up into periods of time where you run back and forth. Run for 15 minutes into the wind, then turn around and run 15 minutes back in the direction you just came from. There are also products out there where you can cover exposed pieces of skin to prevent frostbite from extreme conditions.
Change Quickly After Your Run
Your core body temperature is going to start dropping the second you stop running. It’s important to get out of your wet, damp clothes to avoid a case of the chills. Adding a hot drink like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate right after your run will help warm your body back up too.
Don’t Run for a PR
Finally, know that you’re not going to set a new PR running in the cold weather. Blood vessels constrict, and joints become stiff when temperatures are below 40 degrees, therefore affecting your performance. Knowing that you’re not going to blaze through your run is important because trying to do too much, especially in the cold, could potentially cause an injury.
The cold weather shouldn’t be a deterrent when it comes to exercising in cold weather. Wearing the proper gear and treating your body the right way is the only way to make running in the cold an enjoyable and beneficial part of your workout.