Fall is officially here which means cold weather is quickly approaching and outdoor runs will no longer be hot and sticky. However, cold weather runs can be just as grueling to get through. Here are a few tips for running in cold weather to make the cold season more bearable.
Dress the Part
It is best to dress warmly to retain as much body heat possible in cold weather. However, remember that your body temperature will rise as you run, so you can typically dress for 10 to 20 degrees warmer than it is outside, depending on the windchill.
Wearing a base layer such as active leggings and a moisture-wicking shirt will keep your body well insulated on colder days. A hat, gloves, and warm socks are also recommended on colder days. For less harsh weather, dress in layers that can be easily taken off if it becomes too hot on your run. When dressing in layers, it is best to run in a loop where you can drop excess layers at your car or finishing spot.
During the fall and winter months, we see less sunlight, which means there is less time for daylight runs. An important safety tip for running in cold weather is to be sure to equip yourself with a reflective garment such as an armband or vest to keep yourself visible to cars and others.
Avoid the Wind
Wind can make it hard to breathe, create windburn on exposed skin, and make running even more exhausting due to its added resistance. Plan to run into the wind at the beginning of your run to avoid running into the wind while sweaty and more exhausted on the back half. Covering exposed skin with facemasks can protect you from painful windburn.
Run for Maintenance
Plan your performance running for the warmer month and aim to use winter as a maintenance period designed to keep you in shape. Depending on the cold and other weather elements, running for your usual time or distance isn’t always possible.
Use this time to improve conditioning and maintain your muscles for new personal records in the spring. For this, aim to keep your heart rate at an aerobic pace between 130 to 150 beats per minute.