Thursday, October 29, 2015

6 Tips for Running In The Cold

I've said it a thousand times, I hate running in the cold.  I hate the cold period. But, running in the cold is something I really don't like.  When I run in the cold, my asthma flares up. When I run in the cold, my face hurts. I hate that I have to bundle up so much when I run in the cold. The list could really go on and on. I just don't like to run in anything below 60 degrees.

Although I don't like it, sometimes my brain thinks it is a great idea to run outside in the snow. It seems like it would be fun and enchanting and all that. But after I start going, I remember how much it really just sucks.

Since it's getting colder out, and we will soon be approaching winter, I decided to share with you some winter running tips today.

Take it Indoors

If you're anything like me, you will opt for the treadmill for most, if not every, run.  But what if you don't have access to the treadmill? Or what if, like us, your HOA hasn't fixed the treadmills?  Well, taking your run indoors doesn't have to be all treadmill runs. Here are some good ways to train inside.

Stairs.  I love running stairs. This was one of my favorite work outs when I was in High School.  Some of you probably don't have a lot of stairs to work with in your house. Or maybe you're in an apartment complex and even your stairs are outside.  In this case, find a place where you could do stairs inside without, of course, getting in trouble for running inside. For example, I'm super lucky to live close to two universities. Both of which have indoor workout facilities.  One of the two allows you to use part of the facilities for free.  They have a basketball court with the perfect stair loop that works great when you need to have a good hill workout but it's too cold outside.
Find a place that you will stay warm and be able to get good stair workout in, and do your best not to disturb anyone in the process. You'd be surprised how quick these workouts go, and how fast you get tired.

Indoor Track. Like I said before, I'm lucky to live close to two indoor facilities, that happen to also have indoor tracks.  But Universities aren't the only indoor facilities that have tracks. A lot of gyms will also have an indoor track, as well as rec centers. They usually also have an option to pay for one day instead of a full pass if you're wanting to only use it once in a while.  (This would also give you access to several treadmills).

Cross Training.  Sometimes we can't run but want to stay in shape so that when it is warm enough, or we do have access to a treadmill, we can pick up where we left off. This is wear cross training comes in.  There are a ton of great ways to cross train. You can hop on a bike, take a swim, play a different sport of a day...One of my favorite ways to cross train is to do cardio workouts that you can do at home. Like Insanity, P90X, 21 Day Fix, (my mom used to love Buns of Steel). These allow me to do my workout whenever. If my kids are awake, we can do it together. These also let me keep up on cardio more than other things. And you pay a price one time and use the program as many times as you want! Cross Training is a great option, especially if you've got little kids or limited time. 

Fight Through The Cold

This is my least favorite option because, once again, I hate the cold. But this works for a lot of other people. And it does help you feel way more tough when you run in crappy weather conditions.

Bundle up.  It can be hard to know how many layers to wear and what you'll be comfortable running in. If you have to run outside, Make sure to get some running clothes that are comfortable to you, and that will keep you warm.  I hate the feeling of long sleeves rubbing on my arms when I run, and long pants too but I can stand that more than long sleeved shirts.
When I'm bundling up to run, depending on how cold it really is, I wear a tank top and either a t-shirt or a long sleeved shirt, capris, pants or shorts (I never layer my legs), and sometimes gloves and a hat. It all depends on how cold it is. If you get warm while you're running, you can always take a layer off, and hide it to go back for it later. 

Be Prepared. This isn't just about being cold. This is also about being smart.  If you have asthma, it's much more likely to flare up in the cold.  Make sure you check the temperature and know how cold your body can handle before you need your inhaler. You should find a way to carry your inhaler anyway.  If it's below 30 no one should be running outside. That's not good for your lungs. 

Plan Ahead. Make sure you plan you route before you go.  Try to find a route that is out of the road. Wear reflectors if you wont be back before it gets dark.  Try doing several smaller loops instead of one long run.  This way if there is an emergency (asthma problems, slipping on ice, spontaneous winter storms etc) you'll be close enough to home to make it there quickly and easily. Always tell someone what your running plan is. 

Let's all be safe, and smart, working out as the weather gets colder this year!

Do you like to run in the cold?

What do you do to stay safe during winter runs?


  1. Good timing on this post - it's going to start getting really cold here any day now. I think it's a good point that fighting through the cold does make us stronger and tougher.

    1. Yeah, It's getting pretty cold here too! One thing I love about running is that you can do it any time, anywhere as long as you are prepared for it.