Okay, I know that cold weather is great for killing off annoying insects and making sure that certain fruit trees will produce, but when you’re out there and it’s a balmy 16 degrees with a windchill in the single digits (and for many of you, the negative digits with windchill), somehow it doesn’t matter all that much, especially when you turn into the wind for the first time and you feel that cut along the cheek bone, much like what I would imagine a razor blade might feel.
Yeah, just like this morning’s run. Yish!!
But there’s a secret to running in the cold . . . just run in the cold. : ) I honestly believe that the biggest challenge with running in the cold (assuming you have good cold-weather running gear) is the mental challenge. So, here are a few tips to help you get over the mental hurdles.
First thing is get your running gear all together the night before. There are few things that will discourage you more than digging around for your running gear at 4 in the morning in a cold house and you start getting chilled as you do it. It’s tough enough to go out in the cold when you’re comfortably warm, but get chilled as you hunt for your thermal leggings and turtleneck and stink, your nice warm bed is still just feet away . . . and it IS cold out, you know . . . warm bed, nice WARM bed . . . I’ll just get back in bed for a bit and get warm then . . . zzzzzzzz. : )
In addition to having your gear set out, I also recommend having your drink (whatever it is) prepared too. The more you can have prepared ahead of time, the shorter time you have to reconsider/change your mind on running.
One of the things that also can be mentally defeating is negligence. By that I mean, not doing what it takes to protect your skin, including neglecting your hands, feet, and lips. Use lotion on your hands before every cold run, petroleum jelly on your feet (if you tend to get dry, cracked feet in the cold), and put on the lip balm. Each of these things, in addition to help keeping your skins hydrated and therefore retaining heat better, also reduce cracking and bleeding. I mean, if your knuckles, lips, or feet are bleeding, that’s a great MENTAL incentive to skip the run. Of course, if it gets really bad, it could lead to infection, so keep the coatings on your extremities!
When you’re checking for clothes the night before (AFTER you check the weather for the next morning’s conditions), be sure you’re thinking about the order of your layers (tight to loose) AND that you’ve done your best to protect your neck and ears/head. Few things will cut a run shorter than intended than not having a neck gator, ear protection, or you choose the wrong jacket (that doesn’t have a flap over the zipper to help keep the wind out). No one likes to run when icy wind is cutting through them.
As far as keeping your hands warm, good mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves and handwarmers are easier to carry in mittens, however you also have to deal with sweaty hands if the warmers are too warm. I believe the fingerless gloves that have a mitten pullover are a good option.
Finally, the one thing that will really help you defeat the mental hurdle of running in the cold is making sure you get GOOD sleep. What is good sleep? Well, there are many things that impact how good you sleep, but I’ll just cover one thing: warmth. Nothing will keep me in bed faster than if I wake up cold/chilled. So, I’ve started wearing pajamas, a sweatshirt, running socks, and a knit hat. By the morning the hat is gone AND I already have my socks on for the run! : ) That may be too many layers for some of you, but wear whatever you need to in order to wake up comfortably warm (not sweating) as it makes the transition from the bed to the bathroom much less intimidating! : )
Well, I hope some of these tips helped. The weather appears to be yo-yoing, so make sure you stay tuned in to what’s happening weather-wise so you know how to dress.
Have an awesome run today!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!