Friday, November 16, 2012

Winter Running Tips

Winter is almost here and the time of year many runners, including me, would love to avoid. The daylight hours are short, weather is colder and running surfaces often less then wonderful. So what can we do to make running this time of year better and even fun? As someone who hated Winter running for many years and has grown to tolerate and even enjoy it some days this is my list of tips...

  • Dress for 10-20 degrees warmer: Yes, you will start out colder but will quickly warm up and don't want to overheat which will lead to more sweating. If you are warm when you start it might be a clue to remove a layer.
  • Dress in layers: A base layer to wick away the sweat and then a wind/water proof layer on top. Colder days may even require a midlayer to keep you warm enough. Don't forget the mittens, hat/headband and even face mask on coldest days. 
  • Stay hydrated: Just because it isn't doesn't mean you don't need fluids. Start with warm/water to help decrease freezing and place bottles upside down in your belt or keep under jacket.
  • Duct tape your shoes: This will prevent water/snow and wind from getting through the mesh of the running shoe and keep feet dry. I have also found good luck with compression socks for helping to keep feet warmer, layer another sock over these for extra warmth.
  •  Put Vaseline on your face: Your face is often the only exposed skin and Vaseline can protect fromt he wind and sleetly snow.
  • Take longer to warm up: Your muscles will be colder and tighter so increase your warm up time or even do an easy warm up inside first.
  • Pay attention to the running surface: I am not a fan of YakTrax since it changes gait so I choose to run in only my normal running shoes. Be aware of the surface, pay attention to ice, snow packs and slow down when needed to keep footing. It is not fun falling on the ice! Shorten your stride on these surfaces to keep better footing.
  • Start out slow and know your limits: Just like adapting to hot Summer running, the colder weather takes adapting too and the first few runs will be tougher so stick with it and enjoy the running. At the same time don't push too far and know what you body won't tolerate; have a back up plan, change the schedule or hit the treadmill.
  • Run later in the day: I still prefer morning runs but will push these back 1-2 hours to have warmer weather and more light.
  • Look forward to the hot coffee afterwards: There is nothing better then getting home from a long Winter run and sitting in front of the fire with a hot coffee.
winter running is easier than hot, humid summer running

What are your Winter running tips to stay warm? 

There is nothing better than that first run in fresh white snow to make the rest of Winter running worth it.

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10 comments:

  1. I am a new runner & this will be my 1st winter trying to run in the cold. I have already found that I am having trouble with my breathing in the cold. I also have exercise induced asthma, but I have learned to breathe thru my nose when running in warmer weather. Any advice on the breathing in the colder weather for me to try?? Any will be appreciated. Thank you!

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    1. Breathing is tougher for me in cold too, I need to slow down my pace and take bigger breaths through my nose. Also try a face mask or balaclava it helps warm the air a little. Good luck and start out easy.

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  2. Great tips, Jen! I am not a fan of cold weather running either... I am loving this short Texas phase of life where I get to call 45 degrees freezing cold! It was tough to get out in the bitter wind and dark mornings in the northeast.

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    1. That sounds like perfect Winter running! I would love to not have to deal with bitter cold, wind and snow for 4+ months!

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  3. Oh, love that "If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done" quote! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog! SPA <3

    ~Kelly
    www.leafynotbeefy.com

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    1. I can't remember the last time conditions were perfect!

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  4. As I learned Wed morning MITTENS are the key to warm hands! That and hand warmers :)

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    1. Yes! I broke out the mittens in September and hand warmers in October.

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  5. I'm hearing we'll have a bad winter this year. I'm already wearing 2 pairs of mittens in the morning, though I often pull the outer layer off as I warm up. Plus, I unzip as I warm up too to vent the warm air.

    I am concerned about running on poorly cleared roads. Do you find trail running shoes give you more traction? Thanks for the tip about the duct tape!

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    1. I have actually never tried trail shoes in winter but it might help. I just try to stay to cleared paths and watch my footing. Let's hope they are wrong about a bad winter!

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