Winter Runing Tips

Clothes

Runners must wear appropriate clothing for running in cold conditions. Wear thick absorbent dry socks and make sure you have adequate space in your running shoes to accommodate these thicker socks. Some runners actually buy a ½ size larger running shoe for winter training to accommodate for thicker socks. Taking care of your feet is essential on order to prevent frostbite and circulatory problems with the feet.

A significant amount of body heat is lost from the head which affects the whole body’s circulation. Wear a warm hat when running in cold conditions to help keep your body heat from escaping. 

Wool gloves and thick running track suits are also recommended. Gortex outfits are a big help in the extream cold conditions.  These outfits are expensive but if you are training in the cold much at all they are well worth the money.  If it is not very cold then you may wear a layer of polypropylene shirt below a sweat shirt, that should be enough for the upper body.  Some runners prefer to wear polypropylene or Lycra shorts together with wool running pants. Underwear is also an important item and often overlooked, opt for insulated underwear with a special attention to the front panel being insulated to prevent a cold related injury.

Wind-chill

The weatherman’s favorite word are, “the wind-chill factor”. Runners must be careful with running in a wind-chill as the extreme cold can be draining and even dangerous. Some runners prefer to run into the wind to start off with and then return with the wind at their backs. The return run is easier as you have perspired and your body is warmer.

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Running in the cold weather

Well winter has finally arrived. Today the temperature was in the 20’s with a strong wind making it feel even colder. Most hard core runners will brave the cold rather than run on a treadmill because of the boredom of being in same spot for what seems like forever.

Mild hypothermia (below normal body temperature) can occur within minutes of exposure to frigid conditions, even while exercising. You can help offset this by following a few simple rules.

You need to stay warm and dry and limit direct environmental exposure to your skin. Dress in multiple layers of thin, wicking materials (shirts and pants) with an outer shell that will serve to trap the heat inside. The colder it is, the more layers you need. Wear light gloves, if it is extremely cold wear a outer layer of mittens over your gloves. In the more extreme cold weather you may need to cover your entire head (i.e. with a balaclava). You could also uses Petroleum jelly on the parts of the face that is left uncovered.

The symptoms of hypothermia include feeling a sense of disorientation, lack of coordination, garbled speech, no shivering, weak pulse and a drop in blood pressure. After any run in the cold, once you are inside, put on dry cloths and eat something warm.