When the wind chill is negative five degrees, it is hard to find the motivation to go faster and further while running down the street in three shirts and four pairs of pants. For those who are not fans of the “hamster wheel” feel of a treadmill, here are some tips for keeping those outdoor running workouts during the wintery weather.
First, be smart with layering your clothes. The first layer needs to be synthetic so that it wicks sweat and moisture away. The number of layers over that initial layer depends on the temperature. Experts state that runners should dress for twenty degrees warmer than what the temperature outside is, so if it is 10 degrees, dress for 30 degrees. The outermost layer should be waterproof, in case of a pop-up rain shower, or more likely, a snow shower. A lot of body heat escapes from the head, so wearing a hat is advised. If hats aren’t your style, make sure that you at least wear an ear band.
Darkness seems to overtake the winter months, with the sun rising around 8 a.m. and setting as early as 5 p.m. Since it is very likely that you will be running in the dark, make sure that you light-colored clothes and are seen. It is especially hard to see a runner when there are plowed snowbanks on the sides of roads. The best option is to wear reflective gear and an armband that lights up. A flashlight could also be carried.
Don’t worry so much about your speed during the winter. It’s hard to tell yourself to go faster when all you want to do is turn around and go home. Keep up your stamina instead, and go for time-dropping runs when the air is warmer.
Change your clothes quickly after your run. Body temperature drops as soon as you stop running, so the cold, damp clothes need to be replaced – preferably after a shower – with dry, warm ones. Drinking a hot drink, like coffee or tea, is also a good idea to help warm up.
Many use the winter as a period of hibernation, and most do feel decreased energy during these few months. Instead of giving into these feelings, get out there and exercise.