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If you’re anything like us, you may be experiencing some unseasonably warm temps… I assure you though winter is coming. Rather than hibernate, hit the crowded gym, or succumb to the awful dreadmill, with the right gear and guide, you can still get out there and go. So, while we await the frigid temps, here are some tips for cold weather running.
First things first, lets start with what to wear. While America’s favorite fabric may be cotton, when it comes to cold weather running, this fabric is not your friend. When it gets wet (whether that’s sweat or snow) it stays wet. This can lead to two unfortunate things: chills and chafing, which I’m sure you’d rather do without. Instead opt for technical fabrics like DryFit or Lycra that will help wick away the sweat, keep you dry, and help control your body temp. Layer up so you can remove as your body warms up on the run. And for the bearded fellas, beardsicles might look cool on Instagram, but it’s probably best to cover up. Throw on a mask or simple scarf—added benefit is that it helps to warm up that air you breathe in.
The need to quench your thirst is probably more top of mind during the dog days of summer, but the cold air you breathe is actually drier. This makes your lungs and body work harder, which means more need for H20. There’s some seriously scientific info out there about the amount of time you run to the ounces of H2O you should drink, but a best practice is anything longer than three miles you really should bring some water on your run. Hydrate before your run, consider a small handheld bottle to drink along the way, and make sure to drink after to replenish what you sweat out.
We’ve talked before about the importance of sunscreen in your everyday grooming routine. Well, that includes winter too. UV rays are harmful year round, plus the downside to the pretty fresh powder is that snow actually reflects and intensifies the sunlight. And while you may be bundled up, what little skin you still have exposed needs protection. A simple daily moisturizer with SPF will do, but if you’re getting out and about for an extended period of time, applying sunscreen is the way to go. Don’t let an overcast fool you either. Winter months can bring about darker days of grey, but the sun’s rays can still penetrate the clouds, so spare your face with some SPF.
Without getting too technical, your body responds to cold temperatures in an interesting way. To protect your major organs and that noggin of yours, it constricts blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the extremities (yep, like your toes). So, you’d be wise to factor your feet on your cold weather run. Consider running shoes that have less mesh (this is one time that they don’t need to breathe). And the rotten cotton rule applies here too. Sorry, no tube socks guys. SmartWool, Thorlo and Feetures are a few of my favorite picks.
Stripping down post run may be an obvious piece of advice, but if you’ve got a long drive ahead, don’t wait until you get home. Have a spare change of clothes to quickly get into something dry. If your shoes got a little wet do not, I repeat, do not put them in the dryer. It breaks down the material of the shoe, no matter how great they’re made. Instead crumple up some newspaper and shove them inside your shoes. The paper will absorb the moisture and your shoes will be almost as good as new. Pour yourself something warm to sip on (hot chocolate, tea or coffee…or even a hot toddy) to help your body temp return to normal.