Monday, November 6, 2017

6 Tips for Running In The Cold

If you've been around here for a while, you know that I'm not a big fan of winter or being cold. Running in the cold is no exception.  And in all honesty, I really planned on making outside running happen more often as the weather got cold, but so far it's been exclusively treadmill workouts for me lately. 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.

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

  • Treadmill. The obvious solution to running in the cold is to run on the treadmill.  Sure it can get boring and tempting to finish early. But now there are so many really great treadmill workouts that you can find and that will help you push through the mental game of the treadmill.

    Janae from The Hungry Runner Girl has also shared an awesome list of ways to beat boredom on a treadmill. And you can trust her because she does a ton of treadmill miles, including some marathon training. 


  • Stairs.  I love running stairs. This was one of my favorite workouts when I was in High School.  Stairs act as a really good hill workout and hills help you with strength and speed. The house I grew up in had two staircases and a basement, so I would run up one side, down the other, down the basement stairs and back up and around a few times. If you don't have access to a good set of stairs at your house, 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. Always be courteous to others, especially when you're using another facility. You'll be surprised how quick these workouts go. You don't have to do many miles worth of stairs to get a good workout. 

  • 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 when we can get out and run, we can pick up where we left off. This is where 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 for 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, HIIT workouts, (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.

    If cross training is something that interests you, another really great way to cross train for a runner is to do the elliptical. Ellipticals are great because they mimic the action of running with a lot less impact on your joints. HERE is a really great article on how to find the perfect elliptical for you! (Because, like shoes, I think that deciding on a treadmill, elliptical or other big equipment is a lot of preference and what will meet your needs specifically).


Outside Running in the Cold

Although I'm not a fan of running in the cold, sometimes it's nice to be able to get out away from the treadmill or the kids or just get some fresh air during your run. So here are a few ways to help you stay more comfortable during your cold outside run.

  • Bundle up.  It can be hard to know how many layers to wear and what you'll be comfortable running in. Remember that your body will warm up after you get moving. Make sure to get some running clothes that are comfortable for you, and that will keep you warm but are easy to layer.  
    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 or an ear warmer/headband. 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 the temperature is below 32 no one should be running outside for long periods of time (over 20 minutes), and if it's in the teens, you shouldn't be running outside at all. That's not good for your lungs.
  • Plan Ahead. Make sure you plan your route before you go.  Try to find a route that is out of the road. Wear reflectors if you won't 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 or heat?

What do you do to stay safe during winter runs?

Do you have a favorite winter running outfit? 

4 comments:

  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.

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    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.

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  2. Great tips!!! I can use some for biking in the cold :)

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    1. yes! I'm glad that I helped. These tips definitely apply for exercise in general.

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