Cold Weather Exercise Tips
Last time, we talked about keeping your resolutions. If one of yours was running a race before the spring thaw, we need to talk about training in the weather!
Why should you train outside? First, you need to get used to the conditions of road running. If you’er always on the treadmill, you’ll get shaken by new things on race day. The proximity of cars, the barking of dogs, loose gravel, all can trip you up on your first few road runs. And let’s not forget the hills!
Sure, you can simulate incline on a treadmill, but you cannot run downhill on one! You’ve got to train your feet to land properly so you don’t shred your knees on the way down.
The other thing you’re not likely to experience on a treadmill is how your lungs like to seize up on a cold day at the beginning of a run. They burn like crazy and if you’re not used to it, you might just quit before you get started.
What You Need
1. Hat. A hat is not optional. Wool is best in my opinion because it’s breathable but still warm. If wool makes you itchy or you’re allergic, fleece is probably the next best option.
They’re both lightweight, compact, and can be tucked into other clothes if you start to overheat.
2. Gloves or mittens. They say that you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities, and I think we all know how miserable it is to not be able to feel your hands for the cold.
Opt for moisture-wicking gloves if it’s cold. On days below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, 1. Lip balm or petroleum jelly. It’s a great idea to protect not just your lips, but also nose and cheeks. Windburn hurts!
2. 1. Unless you’re a serious, experienced cold weather runner, ten degrees is probably the cut off. Yes, there are hardcore runners who will take to the streets (or trails) at any temperature.
When your body is used to it, that’s fine. If you’re just starting out, you should be much more cautious. Why? Injuries, of course.
Other cautions: watch out for black ice. Shudder. Be sure your warm up is longer, ten to fifteen minutes ideally, so your body has a chance to adapt to the temperature. Be careful of sunset, as it will get colder fast and you might get lost.
Is it worth it? I think so. Cold weather running is really peaceful, and it can be beautiful. Follow my tips and be careful out there, and I bet you’ll get a great workout!