There are places in the world in which the winter months are the most pleasant time of the year for run training. Of course, unless you happen to live in Australia or South Africa, you probably won’t feel this way.
Particularly in the coming months, when there is snow on the ground and it is freezing cold, getting yourself outdoors to brave the weather will present a big challenge. If you still manage to find a way of motivating yourself to keep running in the cold, you can benefit from these advantages:
Do you often feel tired and lack energy in winter? Then you will enjoy the burst of energy your winter runs give you even more.
If you don’t take a break from running during winter, you stay fit year round and you get into shape faster in spring.
You strengthen your immune system and toughen yourself up.
If you complete your workout despite the bad weather, you will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
I’m sure you are familiar with the saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” There’s a lot of truth to that saying. To make running in the cold, snow and ice easier, we have put together a list of the hottest tips on cold weather running gear to keep you running in winter.
Winter running gear essentials
TDress like an onion! Wear several layers of clothing, one on top of the other. The first layer should consist of special, breathable functional underwear. This absorbs the sweat and then transports it out, away from your body. The second layer of your cold weather running gear should regulate your body heat. A good example of this would be an elastic stretch fleece shirt. The third layer protects you specifically against the wind and the elements like a Windstopper vest or a Gore Tex jacket.
The right footwear
For running on winter’s often wet and slippery surfaces, a running shoe with a good sole profile, like a trail running shoe, is essential. A breathable and water-repellent upper keeps your feet dry. Special running socks with extra breathability prevent shifting and slipping and help keep your Achilles tendons and calves warm.
Warm head and hands despite the cold
In the case of strong winds and frigid temperatures, wearing a running beanie or a headband is a good idea. Special running gloves keep your fingers warm. That way you’ll be safe from excessive heat loss.
Your body produces heat when your muscles move. Therefore, make sure to choose your clothing so the first few minutes of your run are a bit chilly. That way you don’t have to worry about being overdressed and can avoid heavy sweating and overheating.
An absolute must: Warming up
When it is particularly unpleasant outdoors, warm up at home. Good exercises for this are jumping jacks or walking high knees. But don’t work up too much of a sweat though, because you don’t want to start your run drenched in sweat.
The cold won’t bother you much if you warm up before your run.
Start off into the wind
If it is not only cold but windy too, then choose a route in which you start running into the wind and finish with the wind at your back. That way you avoid getting too cold at the end of your run.
Running in the dark
If you prefer morning or evenings when you go running in winter, make sure to wear the right gear for your safety. Besides headlamps, reflective vests, safety armbands and safety shoe clips, there are reflective running beanies, jackets and gloves for running in the dark.
More fun running in a group
Get together with like-minded people. This helps motivate you and makes your training session twice as much fun.
Don’t forget to cool down
After you run, get somewhere warm as quickly as possible and take a shower or change into warm and dry clothes. If you are wrapped up nice and warm, you can do your cool-down stretches outdoors without the risk of catching a chill.
Even if it is not as noticeable as in summer, you lose a good deal of fluids running in the cold. Therefore, make sure to drink plenty of water after your run.
Never put your running shoes on the radiator to dry. The strong and direct heat makes the material of the shoes stiff and brittle, thus reducing their longevity. Instead, stuff your shoes with newspaper and put them in a dry, heated, and well-ventilated room. After about an hour, you can replace the wet newspaper with fresh, dry newspaper.
We hope you feel motivated to try running in the cold this winter. Just make sure you are prepared with the appropriate winter running gear!