For those of us not fortunate enough to live in a tropical paradise, we’re forced to brave the winter cold each time we step outside. For some, this conflicts with our fitness goals.
Running in the cold is an uncomfortable environment. Your hands and lips get chapped, your body tightens up, and inhaling frosty air can sometimes leads to an uncomfortable soreness in your throat. We know you want to nail your fitness goals, so we developed a list of measures to make your cold weather run more tolerable than it was last winter.
• Wear layers. The base layer (closest to the skin) should be a moisture wicking piece, followed by another layer that traps heat, creating a warming environment. Depending on the elements, a third layer may be needed to shield from rain, sleet, or snow. Gloves and hats are just as important. If you’re worried about chafing, look for running-specific accessories to preventing rubbing and irritation during the run.
• Consider the right footwear. A lot of brands have weather-proofed footwear that can endure the elements, like water proofed uppers and no slip outsoles.
• Consider your pace. Colder weather won’t allow your body to move as quickly or freely as it could in the summer. Think about taking it a little slower in the beginning so your body can warm up.
• Breathe through your nose. Breathing in cold air isn’t all that fun, but it won’t seriously hurt your lungs. Our bodies are equipped with a nose that warms and humidifies the air we breathe in better than our mouth does. In addition to breathing through your nose, experts say to wear a scarf, neck warmer or ski mask around your mouth and nose. The material will help trap the warm, moist air you exhale, automatically making your next breath more comfortable. But stay indoors if the weather is below zero degrees Fahrenheit because your body can’t adequately warm that air.
• Drink plenty of water. Even if it’s cold, your body still sweats from physical activity, meaning you need to hydrate!
• Stretch. It’s important to take time to warm up your muscles for the run. Cold weather running makes you more susceptible to pulled muscles. Take a few extra minutes to warm up and stretch before and after your run.