Winter Running

winter

If you are like me, you do not like running in the winter!  I live in southeast Iowa and experience some very chilly winters.  In the past I have allowed the cold, snow, and ice to make me lazy and less motivated to exercise.  However, I have learned that it is possible to run outside throughout the winter as long as you take precautions.  With that being said, I do not run outside if the temperatures are in the negatives (you can, but that is where I draw the line).

The rule of thumb is to act like it is 20 degrees warmer out than it really is.  Why you ask?  Well, as you start running your body heats up much more than if you were just standing outside.  Following this simple rule can help prevent you from actually overheating and feeling uncomfortable.

Here are examples of what I wear in different temperatures:

40-50 degrees Fahrenheit-

  • Under Armor “Cold Gear” compression tights
  • Long sleeve dry-wicking shirt (either Nike or Under Armor)
  • Regular running socks (I wear Saucony)
  • Sports bra
  • Running shoes (Saucony)

20-40 degrees Fahrenheit-

  • Under Armor “Cold Gear” compression tights
  • Sleeveless dry wicking tank (Nike, Under Armor, North Face)
  • Long sleeve dry-wicking shirt (either Nike or Under Armor)
  • Dry wicking running hat and gloves (I have Nike).
  • Regular running socks (I wear Saucony)
  • Sports bra
  • Running shoes (Saucony)

20-0 degrees Fahrenheit-

  • Under Armor “Cold Gear” compression tights
  • Either yoga-type pants, or wind breaker pants over my tights
  • Sleeveless dry wicking tank (Nike, Under Armor, North Face)
  • Long sleeve dry-wicking shirt (either Nike or Under Armor)
  • Zip-up North Face fleece jacket
  • Dry wicking running hat and gloves (I have Nike).
  • Smart Wool running socks
  • Sports bra
  • Running shoes (Saucony)

The brands listed above are just what I wear.  There are many other brands that are just as effective as keeping you warm and wicking away moisture.  You may initially freak out because running clothes are expensive, but I have had most of my running shirts and tights for several years.  The good brands hold up nice as long as you take care of them.  I always let my clothes air dry, and try to wash my running tights every couple of runs (don’t worry they don’t smell!).

When looking for long sleeve running shirts make sure they have a zipper near the neck.  As you get warmer, you will most likely unzip the top of your shirt.  Allowing some heat to get out will keep you at a comfortable temperature.  Good news is, if you get cold, zip it back up!  I don’t know how many times I am messing with my zippers throughout runs…

A few more safety precautions:

  • Run close to your home.  If you are going for a longer run, run several loops.  You do not want to get stranded far from your home if you are unable to complete the whole run due to weather conditions.
  • WARM UP!  I always warm up inside my house, allowing my muscles to loosen.
  • Stay hydrated.  Even though you may not see your sweat, your body is still loosing water.
  • Let someone know your route and an expected time of return.
  • Try to avoid running on ice as you may slip and injure yourself.
  • If you must run on the street (at times it cannot be avoided), run on the OPPOSITE side of traffic so you always see what is coming at you.
  • If you have preexisting knee issues, avoid running in cold weather (cold weather decreases the amount of shock absorption in your shoes, and surfaces are much harder (grass, trails) which can hurt your knees.

Following these tips can allow you to run outdoors through the cold months.

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