So… it’s April. It’s supposed to be spring. But here in the Midwest, it’s still pretty dang cold.
I’ve spent the past few months training for a half marathon, and I’ve had to run outside on some pretty cold days, so I thought I’d share some tips that have been working for me when running in the cold.
First, and most importantly…
Obviously, right? But when you’re not used to running in cold weather, how do you know what and how much to wear?
Let’s start from the bottom up. If possible, try to find waterproof running shoes if you plan on running in the snow. Snow isn’t as bad as rain, but it can still get your feet a little wet if you’re not careful.
Next, make sure you’re wearing long running leggings, and that there’s no ankle gap between your leggings and your socks. Make sure your whole leg is covered.
Now here’s where layering comes into play. If the temperature is in the 30’s or below, I usually wear a tank top, a long-sleeved shirt, and a jacket or sweatshirt. I always make sure to tuck the tank top into my leggings so there’s no possibility of wind getting under my clothes.
This is not actually for looks, but for warmth. When it’s cold out, always make sure to cover your ears, hands, and neck.
I usually wear a running jacket that zips all the way up to my chin, gloves, and a hat or ear warmer headband.
Once again, you’ll want to make sure there’s no exposed skin by tucking your long sleeves into your gloves or mittens at the wrists. If it’s extra cold, wear a hoodie and pull the hood up over your hat. This doubles as head warmth and neck warmth.
Another tip: I always, always put on chapstick before going out for a run in the cold. Cold wind = chapped lips, so I try to take preventative measures!
Don’t Overdo It
I know that when you’re training, it’s hard to convince yourself to cut back on a run because you want to be ready for race day. But cold weather running can be hard on your immune system, so don’t push yourself too hard.
Listen to your body. If the cold air hurts your lungs, pay attention to that feeling. If it goes away after a bit, great. If it doesn’t, maybe it’s time to call it quits.
Unless it’s race day, I don’t recommend trying to break any personal records on super cold days. That being said, realize that the air feels much colder when you stop running and start walking, so I actually do recommend running the whole distance if you can.
Post-Run Self Care
Like I said before, my immune system always takes a hit after a run in the cold, so I always make sure to take the rest of the day pretty easy. Take a nice warm shower, stretch, bundle up in warm and comfy clothes like sweatpants, and treat yourself to some hot tea or hot chocolate.
Try to build your immune system back up by doing a few simple things: drink lots of water, rest and get some good sleep, and eat lots of fruits and veggies.
And that’s pretty much all you need to know to conquer your cold weather run. Congratulations, you’re basically an expert on running in cold weather! I hope my tips were helpful to you, and happy running!
Be happy. Be healthy.