I HATE running on a treadmill, so even when the weather turns cold I try to get outside for my mileage. Living in the Midwest, we have to constantly adapt to changing weather. Being prepared and dressing appropriately can be the difference between a good run and a not-so-good run.
Cold weather running, part 1:
- Select garments made of moisture-wicking material (such as polypropylene, capilene, and some wool/synthetic blends) which pulls sweat away from your skin and keeps you as warm and dry as possible.
- Dress in thin layers. This builds in a layer of air between your clothes which adds warmth.
- Cover your head. Just like your Mother always said, we lose 10% of our body heat through our head, so keep it covered to hold in the heat.
- One of my favorite pieces of cold weather running gear is a mask that covers my face below my eyes on down including my neck. When I get warm, I just pull it down below my chin. Covering your mouth also warms the air you are breathing.
- Running socks. Yes, there is a difference. Socks designed for running keep your feet dry (which keeps them warm) and also fit better to avoid blisters. When it’s really cold, wearing two pairs of polypropylene socks keeps your feet warmer and drier than one heavy pair.
- Not sure if you need gloves? Buy the cheap $1 magic gloves to wear while running. If along the way you get too warm but you don’t want to carry the gloves, fold and toss them along the street for someone in need to find (it is very common at large races that the clothing shed along the route is picked up and donated to a homeless shelter). You are only out a buck and you are helping someone less fortunate.
- When it’s cold, that also means there is less daylight. Be sure you wear reflective clothing, bright colors, and/or visibility gear (head lamp, LED lights, etc)
- As soon as you complete your run, get inside and change into dry clothing.
A dip in temperature is no excuse to skip the mileage. Dress appropriately and get it done! Watch for Part 2 of this blog for more cold weather running tips.