5 tips for running in the (extreme) coldNick Willis
- Air is your friend. When it gets really cold, I’m talking below 15F (-7C), wear a baggy outer layer. Sweat pants, or loose running pants are your friend, as the air between your layers creates a great insulation barrier. Tights or tight fitting clothing often allow the cold to cut through to your skin.
- It’s all about the gloves and hat. Focus on finding the right gloves and hat to guarantee your extremities stay warm (don’t be bashful, get the biggest, warmest gloves an Alaskan heliskier would be proud of), then you can be more forgiving with your core layers. This will allow you to feel lighter, so you can run faster, while still keeping warm.
- Preheat and reheat indoors. This especially helps for long runs. If you can run for short periods of time indoors, whether it be a hallway, treadmill, a lobby of a building, or whatever place you can find that is heated, this will help bring your core body temperature back to normal before heading back out onto the roads again. Try doing 20-30 minutes outside, then jog indoors for 3-7 minutes to reheat, then head outside again
- Hydrate. Just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean you’re not sweating and becoming de-hydrated. In fact, you are likely losing more water from your body during your winter runs because you are wearing so many layers (just think how wet your base layers are when you get back from your run). Be sure to hydrate using electrolytes both before and after your runs.
- Pre-plan your route based on the conditions. If it’s been snowing, make sure to plan a route that has good plowing—nothing worse than slipping and sliding every step of the way. If it’s windy, make sure you plan a route that is sheltered, or even consider running point to point so you get a tail wind. If you do have to run in the wind, start into the wind, and finish with a tailwind. Otherwise you risk building up a sweat on the way out, and then getting windchill frostbite on the way back.