Happy Wednesday! So last night I went out for what was supposed to be a tempo run but HOLY SMOKES – it was SO cold and windy. I tried my best to keep it together and fight the wind but it was a bit difficult so the speed just wasn’t there. I got it done and felt really good once it was over (mostly because my legs, face, and hands were finally able to thaw out!). With the temperature dropping here (and in a lot of other places), I thought I’d put together some tips for running in the cold (all based on my own experiences).
Here we go.
1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The fact that you are outside running in these ridiculous temperatures is an achievement in itself. It’s hard to run fast in the cold and even harder when the sidewalks are full of ice and snow. Pace yourself, be careful, and keep reminding yourself that it’s not always about speed. Janae posted this on her blog yesterday and it really helps to put the impact of cold weather running into perspective!
Full article from Runner Academy can be found here.
2. Choose winter-friendly running shoes! I know some people who will either wear Yaktrax over top their running shoes or even stud the bottom of their shoes with screws to help with traction. Last year I just wore my Mizuno Ascends and I was fine. They are trail shoes so the bottoms had more of a grip than my other Mizunos that I train in (Sayonaras and Inspires). They don’t make the Ascends anymore but the new Wave Kazan would be this year’s equivalent!
3. Become BFFs with the TREADMILL. I hate the treadmill but there are going to be some days this winter where I have no other option. Last year we were hit with a few ice storms which made it impossible to run outside unless I wanted to risk breaking my face. Learn to love the dreadful ‘mill and just be thankful that there are other options for running when Mother Nature decides she wants to mess with you and your training.
4. Find people to run with, whether it’s outside or beside you on the treadmill. It will make winter running more bearable. I do the bulk of my training alone but when the cold weather hits, it’s nice to have someone with you to make the time go by, even if it’s just for a portion of your run. With that being said, if anyone wants to do long runs on Sundays………
5. Don’t give yourself the chance to make excuses. I’m notorious for saying I’ll run later…and then not actually run. It’s really, really easy to stay at home under your covers instead of heading out the door for a tempo when it’s -15*C outside. To make this a tiny bit easier, I always have my clothes ready. If I’m doing a morning workout/run, I will either wear (some of) my clothes to sleep or lay them out on my dresser so they are right in front of my face when I wake up. If I’m doing an evening/post-work run then I will wear (some of) my clothes to work (i.e. I’ll wear my running tights/running socks with nice boots and a sports bra under whatever shirt I’m wearing to work) so that when I get home I just have to put on a different top layer and change into my running shoes.
6. Wear the right gear. I know running clothes are expensive but trust me when I say this – they are 100% worth it. A good wind/water-resistant jacket (like this one), thermal top (like this one), lined tights (like these), a hat, gloves, neck warmer… Wear it all. Layer up. It’s easier to take layers off than it is to be freezing for the entire duration of your run. I know a lot of people dress for 10* warmer than what the weather actually is but I personally cannot stand being cold (plus it takes me longer than the average person to warm up #circulationproblems). I tend to layer and then if need be, I’ll take my jacket off and tie it around my waist or remove my gloves and stick them in my pockets or sports bra (a little enhancement never hurt anyone haha).
7. Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of your run. Whether it’s a post-long run Starbucks latte or that soup you batch cooked on the weekend or even just a reeeaallllllly long, hot shower – knowing there’s something HOT at the “finish line” kinda helps (for me at least!).
8. Don’t forget to HYDRATE and FUEL. We don’t get hot or feel dehydrated as quickly when its cold out so it’s harder to remember to drink and eat. Keep in mind that straws and spouts may freeze so it’s best to start drinking right away (even if it’s just little sips) to keep the passageway open/unfrozen. If you are wearing multiple layers, wear your hydration belt or pack over your first layer (close to your body) rather than over top two or three layers. This will help with freezing too. I tend to stick to gels over chews because chews freeze and turn into rocks, making them very hard to eat!
9. HotHands!!! I still need to go buy a box of these for this season! Your hands (and feet) usually take the longest to warm up so these things are life savers. Just stick them in your gloves and your hands will be nice and toasty. I had no idea they made foot warmers and body warmers too! Must. Buy. ASAP.
10. Keep your END GOAL in mind all. the. time. I was in the exact same place last year – training through a brutally cold winter for the Phoenix Marathon. I just kept reminding myself that the race would feel SO easy compared to the crazy conditions I put my body through during my training. Remind yourself that it will all be worth it in the end. Every bone chilling run through the ice, snow, wind, and cold will make the finish line feel that much sweeter knowing how hard you worked.
If you can think of anything else that helps YOU make it through cold runs, please share!!!