According to our calendars we’re only a hop skip and a couple a weeks away from the season of Spring, hurrah! But before we get to it we’ve got some pretty cold weather headed our way, according the Weather man. With this in mind, and as someone who is spending most of her winter treading those ice cold pavements (Brrrr) I thought I would share my tips for running outdoors in this cold AF weather…
What you should wear:
It’s easy to over dress in the winter and end up wearing 101 layers trying to keep warm. But it’s not necessary. For cold winter runs I usually wear three layers on my torso. I have my base layer which is a long sleeved work-out top made from polyester (as this kind of fabric is great for moisture-wicking). My second layer is just to add warmth and is usually a thick t-shirt, or if it’s really cold a sweater – if it’s not freezing cold I sometimes skip this layer. My third layer is to protect me from rain and wind, so I wear a waterproof hooded jacket that is actually my Mums old Nike Golf jacket, but it does the trick. It’s light but protective.
On my legs I wear these thick durable running leggings from Sports Direct (they also have a handy hidden zip pocket, perfect for keys or lip balm) and I swap my summer training socks for ankle socks or wool socks like these merino wool ones. And don’t forget gloves if it’s a really cold day.
Try to cover most of your head
It may not be the most stylish look but if it’s raining wear a cap as it will keep the rain out your face as your running. And remember, your ears are always at risk of really feeling the chill, not only because they are exposed but because it takes your body longer to pump blood to this part of your body. Try wearing a beanie, or ear muffs, or I wear one of those 3-in-1 windproof ski scarf things. I start off wearing it around my neck, covering my face, but I soon end up wearing it as head band covering my ears and soaking up my sweat in the process.
Ask Runnersworld if your still unsure
If your not sure three torso layers is enough, or you think it’s too much, use this fancy Runners World Tool to figure out what you should be wearing. It’s called What to Wear and it asks you questions based on yourself and your local weather to figure out what the best running clothing would be for that day.
Heat up those hands (if necessary)
If it’s super-duper cold, why not buy some all-natural hand warmers? Although these are aimed at those doing winter sports such as skiing, I’ve seen a few runners advising each other to use these on forums, although I’m yet to try some myself. Apparently they are air-activated meaning no wires or batteries, simply open the pack and pop in your hand over your gloves to keep them warm throughout your run.
Vaseline is a God send to us runners. It’s to be applied pretty much everywhere before those big runs (especially on the, ahem, nipple area) but Vaseline is also brilliant for anyone running in the cold weather. Freezing temperatures and strong winds are the perfect combination to get those lips of yours sore and cracked. So purchase a mini tub of Vaseline to smother over your lips and face before a run -and any other exposed skin – and then pop it in your pocket to take with you on those long distance runs.
Do your warm up indoors
Regardless of the season, I always warm up indoors, but if you usually do your runners warm up outdoors, try swapping the park for the pantry. Warming up indoors will up your heart rate, increase your blood flow and it will raise your temperature, even if just slightly, so that when you open the door to head out for your run the cold air doesn’t stab you like a thousand knives making you squeal ‘MARY MOTHER OF GOD HELP ME’
Plan your route and avoid icy roads & paths
The last thing you want is a twisted ankle, or worse, a broken leg, which you will get if you go out running on ice, especially without the appropriate footwear. If it’s icy AF but you still want to go running, choose a route you know will have been de-iced or run on busy roads where the frost has already been trodden away.
Be Bright or Reflective
Winter means dark mornings and even darker nights, so you need to be seen. We don’t want anything happening to you as a result of you insisting on wearing all black in the pitch black! Think less about style and more about your safety. Try wearing either a bright/high-vis jacket or vest, or have some sort of light or reflective item on you. I wear trainers that are reflective in the night and I always have my phone lit up on my arm.
Re-hydrate just as much as you would in warm weather
Yes it’s freezing, yes your ears are numb, and yes you can see your breath, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t sweating. You can still sweat just as much in cold weather as you do in warm weather when exercising, so make sure to refuel and re-hydrate with plenty of water straight after your run, the same way you would after a summer run.
Change into dry clothes ASAP
Ever returned from a run, felt pretty dam proud, plonked yourself on the sofa, only to feel freezing cold about 20 minutes later? That’s because staying in either wet or sweaty clothes makes it harder for your body to warm back up. Get showered and changed as soon as you get home.
Try Hibernation Running
Layering up, reflective vests, freezing cold wind, frosty mornings and goofy caps – if it’s just not for you then it’s okay, instead go for the easier (albeit more expensive) option and head indoors on the treadmill. No one will judge you, you are still running and that’s all that matters! You’ll still be lapping all the couch potatoes and we’ll see you in the summer when you feel ready to start treading the pavements again.