The official start of winter is not until December 21, 2015 and the recent warmer weather belies the cold that is sure to follow soon. Running in the cold can be brutal or exhilarating. There are brutal days with driving cold wind, rain, sleet and snow. There are also sunny bright days with the sun warming you up as you go down your favorite path. It can also be treacherous with icy conditions making for the risk of slips and falls. But don’t let the weather get you down or provide an excuse not to get out and run. Here are some simple tips to help get out and run in the cold.
- On those cold days wear a hat which covers the ears. You lose a lot of body heat from the head and it is important to keep it covered to keep in the heat.
- Wear mittens rather than gloves. Mittens keep your fingers warmer than regular gloves. When it is really cold wear gloves and then put mittens over the gloves.
- Wear layers and don’t over dress. A wicking shirt as an under layer helps keep moisture away from the body. Put another shirt over that and on real cold days wear a light (unlined) windbreaker. Wearing tights are popular but the looser fitting ones are actually warmer.
- Don’t wear cotton socks. Wear the moisture “cool max” or equivalent type as they will help keep your feet dry.
- When running at night wear reflective clothing or a flashing light for visibility.
- During the day wear your sun block. The winter sun can be strong and cause damage to your skin as well as increase the risk of skin cancers.
- On windy days try to run against the wind on the way out. It will be tough going out but you will be rewarded on the return. There is nothing worse than having to turn around and battle the wind after breezing through a bunch of miles with the wind at your back.
- Always run against the traffic – on the left hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic.
- Find a lighted path to run in the evening when it is dark such as the local boardwalks.
- On cold windy days running some trails in the woods really makes a big difference as it breaks the wind.
- And the best way to stay motivated through the winter is to run with some friends or a group. When a friend or group is waiting there is a much better chance you will not find an excuse not to run on that cold, windy night.
- Treadmills are better known by many runners as “dreadmills” for being boring and a last resort for many. If you are not a regular treadmill runner be careful as your running gait on a treadmill is different than that on the road. The surface of a treadmill is also different and again your feet will not be adapted potentially leading to an injury. It is best to allow your body to adapt. Don’t do a long run on your first treadmill run. Gradually increase your mileage and your pace.
And start thinking about your 2016 running New Year’s resolutions. It will be a great time to make a resolution to maybe run your first half marathon or set a PR at a half. The program below will keep you motivated in the cold winter mornings and help you meet that resolution.
Saturday, January 2, 2016, Half Marathon Training Program Starts, Asbury Park – Belmar area.
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