Friday, January 16, 2015

More Winter Running: Staying Warm

In my last post I talked about dressing for winter weather. The concept is fairly basic and if you follow the advice from the previous post, you'll probably do fine with staying warm. If, however, you are still having some difficulty staying warm, here's some more specific advice for beating the cold.

If your core or legs are not staying warm, the first option is always adding more layers. When it is very cold, having a windbreaker in between two other layers works well. To keep your legs warm, tights, running shorts, and running pants usually do the trick. You can also get some warmer under layers if those three layers aren't enough.

If you're having trouble with keeping your face warm, there are quite a few options out there. Some runners spread a little petroleum jelly on their faces which offers a little more insulation. There are also a variety of face masks out there that do a nice job. Some are entire hoods, and others have Velcro to hold them in place at the back of the head. Just make sure you don't use any cotton, and you should be fine.

I have the most difficult time with my hands. It's tough to figure out how much glove you need, and when it gets really cold I have a tough time keeping my hands warm. This year I may spring for some thicker running mittens. When I ran a race last year in below zero temperatures, one of the guys I was running with had a nice thick pair. I've layered gloved in the past, but for whatever reason it doesn't seem to work as well as layering shirts or pants.

Finally, one of the best ways to be comfortable when running in the cold is to be mindful of the wind. Though it's uncomfortable at first, start out running into the wind on an out-and-back run. You'll definitely appreciate it when you turn around, and if you start out with the wind at your back, you'll get sweaty and end up with a very cold run on your way back.

If you find yourself just not enjoying yourself once it reaches a certain temperature, there's nothing wrong with a little treadmill or indoor track running. Though boring, it can offer a little break from the frigid temperatures and winter darkness--I actually do most of my weekly mileage indoors to avoid running in the dark.

Happy Running!

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