It is winter time and this might influence your training. Are you having trouble going out there on your run? Let me give you some tips on how to make running in cold weather better so you can enjoy it more and stick to your training goals.
For most of us winter means really cold weather, of course it depends on where you are in the world. When I lived in LA we’d spent weekend’s at the beach in December, but here in the Netherlands it is cold out and the worst is yet to come. So how do you deal with the cold and how will you not let it keep you from running?
1 Winter Running Gear
Get some winter running gear, a long sleeved shirt, long pants. When you’re running you will warm up, so it’s mostly for that part at the beginning when you are warming up still. It’s good to wear layers, something with a zipper that you can zip down or even take off if you have to when you get too warm.
2 Wear Gloves
Running gloves are a very welcome item in the winter for me. Most runs I don’t really warm up until I’m about 5K in to my run. My body warms up, but my hands just stay cold cause they are not really doing much during the exercise. Now you might have gloves already, but the gloves you use when you go snowboarding are not really great for running. Get a pair of special moisture wicking running gloves, trust me, you’ll be happy that you did. These gloves are also very light and thin, so when you do get warm you can easily take them off and put them in your pocket or run belt.
3 Warming up
Do a warm up at home. It’s mostly just cold at the beginning of your run, so start by warming up when you’re still indoors and get the blood flowing a bit. Do some warm up exercises, run in place or if you have the chance to run on a treadmill you could start with a mile on the treadmill before you head out the door.
4 Warm Head
Keep your head warm. There are several things you can use to keep your head warm. I always run with a headband, but in the winter I have a running cap that keeps me warm, but also doesn’t get my head too warm when I start sweating. Now for me this is more of an issue seeing that I don’t have hair to keep me warm, but wearing some sort of cap or running hat can help you out there. Also a running scarf or neck warmer could help you stay warmer when you have to face some ice winds. Specially nowadays if you’re in an area where you have to run with a face mask, a running scarf or neck warmer that also covers your mouth and nose could be a good option for you.
5 Adjust your Schedule
Change your schedule if you can. Winter weather can be very different day by day and if the temperature or rain and snow conditions are predicted to be a lot better one day or the other you might want to adjust your running days accordingly. So try and be a bit flexible.
6 Light up
Running in the winter also for a lot of people means running in the dark. Those dark winter days will need some lighting up. Make sure people and especially traffic, see you and make sure you can see where you are running. So a light like a headlamp can be a good solution for this or a chest light that will guide your way, but also makes you visible for cars you might run in to. Or not run in to because you have a light with you.
7 Rewards Yourself
Stay motivated in the winter. Motivation can be low when the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful, so you might have to push yourself a bit more to go out running when it’s cold. So perhaps a reward system for yourself can help here. Tell yourself you get to do something fun, eat something great or go somewhere you like, only after you’ve been on your run. Give yourself an incentive to go running to help and stay motivated. Something you can use for this too is an advent calendar. Buy a good one with treats you love and instead of using it to count down to Christmas you open a square when you’ve been on a run.
8 Run Together
Running together doesn’t keep you warmer, but it might help you to stay motivated for your winter run. For some reason during the winter I always see a lot more people running in groups than during the summer. I guess in the summer people don’t mind going out there for a run, but in the winter you need this extra push, so a running buddy or running groupcan be a great way to have some accountability.
9 Warm Feet
What if you have cold feet? We all love those shoes that make us faster, the light and breathable shoes. But the thing with a lot of these shoes is that the wind goes straight through them when you’re running, so you might want to consider this before you go out. There are shoes that are better suited for runs during the winter or even for running in wet weather. Your socks can also make a difference here. I wear knee high compression socks on most of my runs and they keep me nice and warm. But if you are running somewhere where it’s a lot colder you could even consider doubling up on your socks. Try not to wear socks where the toes are separated, that doesn’t keep your toes as warm as regular socks would.
10 Cool down and Warm up
Once you are done with your run make sure you get warmed up and out of your running gear. Get the damp running gear off, get something nice and warm to drink or jump in the shower. Don’t cool off after your run, cause as soon as you stop running you will cool off quick. I love taking a hot shower afterwards, it just feels like a treat and afterwards I’m ready to start my day fully energised.