Prepare for Cold Weather Running

Like it or not, winter is here.  With it came the cold weather running most of us deal with all season long and it can be a total de-motivator.  Here are some great ways to conquer the cold, stay on track with training and head into spring ready to rock.

Layer up.  When it’s zero degrees out following the rule ‘dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer’ means extra clothes.  Breathable, sweat wicking fabrics with vents are your best bet for staying warm without overheating.  Don’t be afraid to try stocking under long tights or wool socks.  Remember, you can always take a layer off if you get too warm.cold weather running

Gear up.  Gloves, an ear warmer, shoes with as little mesh as possible and a dry change of clothes are all a must when prepping for cold weather running.  Additional winter running tools include reflective vests and headlamps for the waning daylight and YakTrax for managing very snowy conditions.

Warm up.  When the weather’s nice, warming up outside is typical.  When it’s cold, warm up indoors.  A stretch and some burpees or jumping jacks gets everything moving before slipping out the door.  The cold doesn’t feel so chilly after your blood is pumping and muscles are ready to work before going outside.  If you’re not solo and are waiting for a group, stay in a warm building or toasty in your car instead of standing around letting your body get cold again.

Watch the wind.  There’s always a steady breeze here in Virginia Beach and winter winds can be brutal.  Running into the wind is always tough but it can also cause sweat to freeze and your core temperature to drop a little bit more.  Start your run into the breeze then you won’t have to deal with cold, damp clothes getting even colder on the second half of your run.

Stay hydrated.  Cold weather running might not feel as sweaty as when it’s hot but just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean your body isn’t burning through fluids.  Skip the ice cubes and put warm water on your route or carry it between layers to prevent freezing.  Also check any water fountains on your route to make sure they’ve been left on once temperatures dip below freezing.

Undress.  ASAP!  Swap out sweaty running clothes for dry ones you have handy.  Wrap up in a big fluffy beach towel or washable blanket.  Your core temperature drops quickly after cold weather running which can lead to chills that take a long time to shake.  Get warm and dry as soon as possible by drinking a warm hot chocolate, putting a hat on wet hair and swapping out sweaty sports bras for something more comfy.

And don’t forget, when cold weather running becomes unbearable, a run or two on the treadmill won’t be the end of your running career.

Coach Meredith

What do you love about cold weather running?  How do you prepare for a cold run?

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