The cold weather seasons has descended upon us in Pennsylvania. I feel as though we have been lucky so far. We have had a mild early winter season. Unfortunately, that streak seems to have ended this week with snow flurries and temps in the 20’s. Here are my top tips to keep you healthy and safe in this season of running!
1. Dress in layers. You will want to dress as if it is 10-15 degrees warmer than it actually is so that you don’t overheat on your run. If you are dressed in layers, you will have the option to take your outer layer off. Also, make sure that your head, face, and hands are appropriately covered.
– Pants: The best pants for winter running are fleece lined and/or wind resistant. My go to brands include: Under Armour, Oiselle, and Victoria’s Secret (yes….you read that correctly! I actually love their winter running tights. They are thick, high waisted, and comes with lots of pockets!)
–Tops: I will usually wear three layers depending on the temps. A moisture wicking tank, a moisture wicking thick long sleeve and if needed a coat, sweatshirt or fleece.
–Accessories: Your winter must haves include: a hat or earmuffs, gloves, a gaiter, and thick socks. It is important to keep your hands, feet and face protected as well!
2. Warm up. Make sure your muscles have a proper warm up before you start running to decrease your injury risk. An easy mile to get in to the groove or your favorite dynamic warm-up routine will help loosen your muscles before your training run.
3. Adjust your pace. When running in cold weather extremes, your effort will be increased. Your speed should be slightly slowed to factor this in to your training paces. Also, when running outside, you want to be cautious if there is snow/ice on the route. Use a shorter stride to help you keep your balance.
4. Wear reflective gear and bright colors. If you are running when it is dark outside, it is really important to be seen by motor vehicle drivers! There are so many options with reflective and light up gear. Please, please do not make the mistake of not being seen while you are running.
5. Bring a change of warm, dry clothes that you can switch in to at the end of your running if you are not running from your house. You will want to get out of your cold, wet clothes as soon as possible. This will prevent your body temperature from dropping after the run. It will also keep you healthy.
6. When all else fails…Take your workout inside. If the temp is sub zero, if there are strong winds, if there is ice it will not be worth the risk to run outside. Take your workout to your dreadmill. I know…most of us can’t stand running on a treadmill. I have a love/hate relationship with them too! To keep my interest, I frequently change the pace or I bring my earphones and zone out.
7. Know the danger signs
Frostbite: At first, cold skin and a prickling feeling. Then, numbness, red, white, bluish-white or grayish-yellow skin. Which progresses to hard or waxy-looking skin, clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness and blistering after rewarming, in severe cases.
What should you do? Prevention is key here. Keeping extremities including your fingers, hands, feet, and face protected in cold weather is really important. If you start to experience these symptoms, get out of the cold weather immediately.