Cold Weather Running Tips
Hard core runners take to the streets through every season and in all types of weather. However, you don’t have to be a dedicated, full-time runner to take up jogging in the cooler months and reap the benefits of an excellent exercise to keep you fit throughout the winter when there is a tendency to slow down. Whether you choose a 30 minute jog through town or an extended cross country run, you will boost metabolism, burn calories, increase energy and keep fit.
Therefore, with winter approaching and the New York City Marathon taking place this upcoming Sunday (6 November 2011) it’s a good idea to take a look at some cold weather running tips to keep NYC Marathon runners and all cold weather runners safe in the coming months.
Stay Warm and Warm Up
When running in cold weather, it’s important to stay warm until the time you’re ready to hit the pavement. Therefore, stay indoors until it’s time to go so that you don’t lose body heat unnecessarily.
Before getting started with cold weather running, you should spend a few minutes warming up. Running in place and doing some stretching exercises will get the blood moving to the various parts of the body which will help the transition into the run as well as loosen up muscles which will help to avoid injury.
Wear the Right Clothing
Protecting yourself from the harsh winter elements is very important when running in cold weather. Sweat soaked clothing can lead to hypothermia and exposed skin can become chaffed or worse, frostbitten if the wind chills are extreme.
Winter runners should dress in layers. Layered clothing helps to trap body heat within the various areas of the clothing, keeping you warmer for longer. Layering also allows you to take off a jacket, for instance, and tie it around your waist when you get too hot. You can then put it back on when the run is over and you start to cool down.
Wear snug clothing made of synthetic, sweat-wicking fabric next to your skin. A second layer can be jogging sweatpants and a sweatshirt and the top layer should be both waterproof and wind resistant. If it’s raining or slushy, you might want to wear thick thermal socks or two pairs of regular socks to better protect your feet.
If it’s very cold, apply a sweat-resistant moisturizer or petroleum jelly to any exposed skin (face) and a lip balm. Wear a hat, gloves, scarf and even a face mask in really extreme cold. Always keep in mind that the wind chill factor can severely reduce the actual temperature. When you finish your run, change out of your wet clothing as soon as possible.
Pace Yourself and Adjust Strides
Running in cold weather causes a restriction of blood flow which increases the chance for cramps and muscle spasms. Reduced blood flow also keeps the muscles from warming up as fast as they normally would in warmer weather. Therefore, you should pace yourself and give you body more time to warm up before kicking your run into high gear.
Also, if there are adverse elements to contend with (i.e. heavy rain, sleet, ice, or snow), you will want to adjust your stride to a shorter gate in order to better maintain your footing. Serious injury can occur from a fall on icy pavement.
Maintain Your Water Intake
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can skimp on drinking water. Your body is still sweating and requires replenishment. A good gauge for drinking water during cold weather running is drink according to your degree of thirst and no more than 8 oz in a 20 minute period.
If you’re thinking of taking up running this winter season then keep warm and safe by following these cold weather running tips. If you’re heading to the NYC Marathon this weekend, good luck!
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