It's getting to that time of year again. The chill is in the air. For some of us, we've already experienced inches or more of snowfall, and others are experiencing their first frost of the year. Regardless of location, the weather is changing, and it's best to plan ahead to avoid missing vital training sessions.
Here's the lowdown on how to prepare, and train through cold weather.
Complete a dynamic warm-up routine inside to raise body temperature and increase blood flow to your muscles. Not only will this help reduce the shock from the chill air, but it will reduce the risk of injury due to stiffness that can affect gait patterns and running economy.
Dress In Layers
When running, our bodies naturally heat up. How we dressed before stepping out the door may be too much a few miles into your run. Wear light articles you can take off and secure around your waist or loop by the house to drop the top layers at your doorstep.
Wear A Hat
Our head accounts for 7- 10% of our body's surface area. Typically, it’s one of the last considerations when dressing for cold weather. Running without a hat during the winter months leaves runners at risk of losing a significant amount of heat that may affect performance. Wear a light hat that can be easily tucked into a waistband if you get too warm.
Gloves Are A Must
Temperatures in the mid to low 40s can affect the extremities such as the hands and feet. Fortunately for your feet, each step helps facilitate blood flow and warmth. However, your hands are exposed to the elements and can be significantly hindered by cold weather. It can become difficult to manipulate fuel packets, shoelaces and even attempt to adjust the lap timers on your watch.
Depending on how cold it is, light gloves may do the trick. But if you plan to run in near-freezing conditions and below, we advise you to opt for glove/ mitten combinations. In worst-case scenarios, carrying hand warmers may be the most practical option to battle the elements.
Keep Exposed Skin Covered
Protect skin from chapping or drying out. For areas like the face and neck, opt for light fabrics like a neck gator or apply a thin layer of your favorite anti-chafing balm.
Stay Adequately Hydrated
Dehydration is still a risk when running in cold weather. You are still sweating under the layers, and cold air can strip the skin of moisture. Everyone's hydration needs are different, but adequately hydrating before, during, and after your run will help the body recover and perform at its best.