It’s January, and as the days roll on, the cold stays put. Most of the nation recently experienced the brutality of 2014’s Polar Vortex, and even though everyone got through it, it’s not going to be hot any time soon. Dealing with cold weather workout conditions, and running in cold weather, is very different from training in hot weather, so here are six tips from Team FitNice to help you find success training in chilling temperatures.
Layers. But not too many. When you first hear it’s going to be 20 degrees, you want to grab every piece of clothing you own and put it on. Resist the urge! It’s better to have too little than too much, which will end up leading you to get too hot. Running warms the body up, and does it quickly, so dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer than it really is to prevent overheating. If you do decide to
Clothing choices. Speaking of those layers, it’s important they’re made of the right stuff. Wear things made out of technical fabrics that will wick sweat, and choose items with zippers at the neck and underarm for additional cooling when you’re ready. Be sure to include gloves or mittens (usually warmer than gloves) and a hat or ear warmer.
Hydration still matters. Even in cold weather, you can become dehydrated. You might not be sweating as much as you do in June and July, but you’re still doing it. Ice water likely won’t be your first choice when it’s below freezing, and that’s OK. Be smart, especially if there’s clean snow on the ground, that’s all the water you need.
That burning? It stops. The pain in your lungs during the first few cold runs of the year will go away when your respiratory system adjusts. Take it slow and know the reason you’re only getting half a breath in before there’s screaming in your chest isn’t because you’ve suddenly fallen out of shape.
Shoes. Snow on the ground? Sport runners with as little mesh as possible, or if you live in a very snowy locale, pick up a pair of waterproof shoes. Make sure you have enough tread to deal with snow covered terrain or the possibility of icy patches. Socks that wick sweat away are a must, and you can always consider wearing two pairs when it’s nasty, just be sure to loosen your laces.
Change ASAP. Your core temperature drops as soon as you finish your run. Take off sweaty clothes, head to toe (including sports bras and hats), as soon as you can to prevent a case of the chills. Drink something warm, like coffee, tea or hot chocolate with your post race food. Not wrapping up near home or a coffee shop? Take a thermos to keep your beverage hot.
Want help handling the cold or shopping for cold weather gear? We’re here!