Winter is coming, as house Stark says if you are fans of Game of Thrones. But if, instead of (or alongside with) spending weekends on TV series, your goal is to keep running in cold weather, there are few things to be taken care of. In particular, there are some mistakes or misconceptions we need to get over with, to have a good running experience even when it does not look so appealing outside.
Keep yourself motivated
Let’s face it: one of the main problems can be the lack of motivation. One thing is going out in a park in the bright afternoon ours of spring, looking at the nature flourishing. Or running by the beach in summer, imagining a following ice-cream and beer by the sea. Or being amazed by the thousands of colors that the autumn season brings.
Darkness and cold climate are not really an appealing value proposition for running in winter: therefore, we need to compensate with extra motivation. Some of the things I keep thinking? The extra calories burnt that will compensate some nights in the pub, or the possibility of subscribing to a spring event being in a decent shape. Yes, enrolling for a race in February-March will hold you accountable! 🙂 and if nothing works… just lace your shoes, go out and run one mile. At that point, motivation will follow.
Do not exaggerate with cloths!
A common mistake one can do is to put too many layers when going out running. It can be good at the beginning, when hitting the road, but not when the body is warm. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if it was 10 °C (about 20 °F) above room temperature. Anything extra will cause over sweating, or you will take it of and lace on your waist very soon!
Tight cloths are to be preferred to sweaters or blouses, as ensuring the contact with the body will help transpiration.
Protect some sensitive areas!
The more below 10 °C (50 °F), the more attention you have to pay to some details. The temperature of the air is cold: a good habit is to breath with the nose, allowing more heating. The down side of it is that less air is conveyed that way. Another possibility is to use a bandana over the mouth – as villain in spaghetti western movies! Air coming through it to the mouth will be warmer. But again, there is a limitation to the air that can be breathed that way: try the combination that works better with you.
Speaking of bandana or headbands, consider to use them to protect effectively head, ears and neck.
Protect yourself from darkness risks!
I am not talking of vampires, but of anyone who could not see you. Daylights are shorter, and chances that you will work out after sunset (or before dawn, if you are an early bird) are high. I want to insist on this point, very important in my opinion: if you run and people cannot clearly see you, you are risking a potential life threat.
Today you can use visibility lights (clips for your shoes or jacket, lights installed at your chest or head level), light weighted and comfortable. You can use fluorescent elements like vests or armbands too.
OK, sometimes it is really too cold!
If temperatures drops well below 0 °C (30 °F), you may feel less and less comfort in running outside. Although there is no real risk – taken the right caution and protection – in running with low temperatures, that may become very challenging.
Running should always be a rewarding, motivating experience. If you don’t feel the same, there is no shame in hitting the treadmill instead! It will not be the same, but will help to survive the coldest phases of the winter… in good shape!