Running Tip: Preparing for the Cold

Brrrrrrrrrr!!!! It’s gettin’ cold outside…..

Winter Time Running Tips:
Running in the colder weather can give you an edge when the spring racing season arrives. But don’t just repeat your warm-weather workouts–make the following adjustments to reap the most from wintertime efforts.

Turn up Your Warm-up
When the temperatures are freezing, it is going to take your muscles longer to warm up, so factor that extra time in as you prepare for your run. Start slow and gradually ease into faster paced running to reduce the risk of injury. Stay in constant motion–leisurely stretching and walking between strides is fine in July, but not in January. Start with a jog that accelerates to tempo pace for the last two minutes, then continue with dynamic stretches and drills like high knees, butt kicks, and skipping. Conclude with four to six strides and jog the recovery.

Ease Into Speed
Even after a vigorous warm-up, your muscles will be cooler than usual, which raises your injury risk. Start with a tempo run of 10 to 20 minutes, or several long intervals of 5 minutes or more, and gradually transition to shorter, faster repeats. Save all-out efforts for last, when your body temp is highest.

Think Effort, Not Pace
When conditions force you to run on roads rather than the track, lose the watch. Knowing your pace can be demoralizing, thanks to slippery footing and/or your seven layers of clothing. So, for example, if your plan calls for 800-meter intervals at 5-K race pace, aim to run a 5-K race effort instead. And don’t fret about the exact distance: If you are within 10 percent, you are fine.

Recover Actively
Alternating periods of all-out running with complete rest causes big swings in heat production. Keep the hot/freezing effect to a minimum with gradual shifts between easy jogging, moderate running, and hard running.

Head Uphill
Winter training demands flexibility. Postpone or move up workouts as Mother Nature dictates. And if snow makes sessions like long intervals impossible, run hills to mimic the intensity. Run up, jog down, and repeat. Focus on maintaining good form, springing forward with each stride.

Running Attire: Dress in Layers
Wearing a series of thin layers made of special fibers that keep you warm but allow extra heat and sweat to escape is the best way to dress. This allows you to peel off layers as you warm up during the run. The first layer should fit close to your skin to help keep you warm.

In wet or cold weather, wearing a large lawn bag upside down, before a race to reduce wind chill and stay dry, is quite handy. Cut a slit in the bag for your head to poke through, keep your arms and hands inside with your body heat and wear this until the race starts. When you are ready to shed it, toss it to the side of the road, making sure no one behind you trips on it!

Pay particular attention to extremities, as they are the most vulnerable to cold temperatures. In extreme temperatures, coat any exposed skin with a thick lubricant like Vaseline or Body Glide for protection. This includes coating your feet and toes too before putting on your socks. You may even need to use running booties to cover your running shoes for additional warmth and protection.

After the run, have dry, warm clothes ready so you can shed your wet running clothes as soon as possible. Remember that you will cool down quickly and the best way to avoid getting chilled is to get out of your wet clothing.

The information presented is offered only as something to consider in your quest for health and well-being. Always consult your healthcare provider before making any lifestyle changes.


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