As temperatures drop, so does the desire to run outside. How can you keep your training on track as the temperature remain chilly?
You might be amazed how fun an outdoor run can be with a positive attitude. Breathing in fresh air, taking in the snowy sights and getting in a mile or two. If you’re afraid to back out on a cold run, ask someone to join you. It is more difficult to stay in bed or cancel if someone is waiting for you. Remember, you’re running for a reason. All of these miles in the cold will pay off when warm weather rolls around.
Dress For Success:
Yes, it’s cold, but keep in mind that you will warm up as you run. The rule of thumb is to dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer. Always start with a hat or gloves, and go with layers so that you can take them off as you warm up. The “base layer” should fit snugly and wick sweat. The “mid-layer” should insulate and keep body heat from escaping. The“outer layer” should be wind-resistant and/or waterproof in case of rain or snow. The goal here is to have your clothing adapt as your body warms and cools with changes in the weather. Unzipping a jacket, pushing up your sleeves, taking off a hat or putting away gloves allows you to adjust your temperature on the run. Winter also means fewer daylight hours and poor visibility conditions so wear bright-colored, reflective clothing to remain noticeable to area traffic.
Remember to Hydrate and Fuel:
When it is cold, it is easy to overlook your fuel needs. Drink about one cup (8 ounces) every 20-30 minutes while you run. If the ground is icy, slow down in order to drink. Remember, this is a training run, you’re not trying to set any land speed records. You’re building base miles or enjoying a grand day out. If you normally take a gel or eat every 45 minutes to an hour on a long run, you should do the same in the cold.
Adjust Your Running Style:
Even the best running shoes cannot protect you from all icy or snowy conditions. If there’s snow, ice or excessive water on the ground, shorten your stride slightly and pay attention to your footing to avoid slipping. Your foot plant should always be under your center of gravity to provide solid foot strike. You may want to consider putting traction devices over your running shoes in order to give you better footing.
Take Care of Yourself:
When your run is over, go someplace warm right away. You might feel warm, but your wet clothes will get cold quickly. As those clothes get cold so will you, which will cause your muscles to tighten up. Get into warm, dry clothes and stretch out those cold muscles. Congratulate yourself on a job well done! Reward yourself with a hearty breakfast or cup of cocoa.