Monday, November 14, 2011
Cold Weather Running
Jack Frost is right around the corner and unless you live in a warm weather region, you will be running with him soon enough. Just because the mercury falls it doesn't mean you have to succombe to running inside. Here are a couple things to make running in the cold a success.
1. CLOTHING- Most would assume as long as you layer up you will be fine. While this may be true, in part, there is more to consider. Make sure your base layer of clothing is moisture wicking. This will help draw the sweat away from you skin. Wet + Cold = Bad. After the base layer, the choice is yours, however having at least one removable layer is not a bad idea. Consider visibility as well, reflective, bright colors, lights (at night) or colors that contrast your landscape (black when there is snow on the ground) will help make you more visible. Your socks should be moisture wicking as well, and don't go cheap on the socks. Keeping your feet warm and dry will be well worth the money you've invested.
2. HATS & GLOVES- Much of this will come down to personal preference. Hats designed specifically for running will usually be better suited for moisture wicking. Other options may include ear and/or full face coverage. Variety also exists in the types of gloves available. Many brands now offer built in pockets or "touch access". Touch access will have special material or openings in the fingers, making it easier to use your I-pod, watch, phone, etc.
3. FACE & EYE PROTECTION- Sunglasses aren't just for the summertime. They offer good protection from the wind and snow. Glasses that allow for interchangeable lenses are a nice option. To protect your face consider using Vasoline. This will help guard against wind burn and chapped skin. Sun screen may also be needed.
4. CONQUERING THE ROAD- Dealing with the wet, icy or snowy roads is another thing you'll have to plan for. Count on even less room for you and all of the speeding, texting motorists on the snowy roads. Many trails are still maintained in the winter and may offer a safer option. Using trail shoes, even on the road, will provide added traction during poor weather. A cheaper alternative is a product called Yak Trax . I am in no way a paid spokesperson for the company but as a satisfied customer, I feel comfortable in recommending them. Make sure to look for the running model.
5. COLD AIR- In the early stages of your running development you may find some discomfort in breathing in the cold air. This seems to lessen as your lung strength and conditioning improves. Taking a brief 5-10 minute walk before your run will help you body adjust to the cold, while providing your muscles an opportunity to get warmed up.
6. FROZEN FUEL- Keep in mind you will still need to hydrate and fuel on your longer runs, which could lead to frozen fuel. Keeping gel packs close to your body and warming your water before you go will help to minimize this problem. Chewable "fuels" are also an option.
Finally, make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. Take a cell phone with you, just in case. A free app called Glympse allows you to be tracked by GPS while running. You set the time and people you authorize to track you and they receive a message along with a link to do just that. Other similar options are probably available.
Hopefully using these tips will help you fall in love with running in the cold. Ok, well most of the time.