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It's easy to run in cold weather if you are motivated and prepared.
You may want to find a running group through a running store. I found that sometimes the cold weather kept me at home, but if I knew some fellow runnners were planning on heading out, it kept me motivated. I also put a baseline temperature "ideal" in my head. Anything above 20 degrees meant game on. Get good layering clothes and a reflective clothing /lights if running in the dark. You just need to get through the first mile or 1/2 mile, and before you know it, you don't even feel the cold.
What I remember best about living in Chicago was seeing so many runners hit the streets when the temp would reach above 40 degrees. I was running the entire winter is cold weather would only see a few other souls out there. Then it warms up, and runners are everywhere!
Ironic that you mention home DVDs to keep you in good shape until you're better able to run more after the winter.
I'm running a giveaway right now for Building a Better Runner volumes 1&2 here: http://strengthrunning.com/2011/12/becoming-indestructible-building-a-better-runner-giveaway/.
It ends Thursday, 12/15 at 11:59pm so if you want to enter do it quickly and don't miss out.
The DVDs are, honestly, awesome. I have both myself and they include over 100 strength, mobility, and warm-up exercises that are designed to keep you healthy.
I hope you find them helpful.
+1 on getting the right gear. Dress in layers and run your first mile or two close to home (or somewhere where you can throw off a layer to pick up later). Prewarming the air with a neck gator is also good.. I learned to love to run in the air but i HATE the first mile or two.. esp. in the AM. Careful of the ice.. one slip could undo months of training..
I live in Ohio and split my time between the treadmill and getting outside. One thing no one has mentioned are Yak Trax!! You just pull them on over your regular running shoes (get the "pro" kind with the strap across the top of your shoe). I find those sooo helpful and stabilizing, and have never once slipped on ice or slushy patches. They feel a little weird to run on but I don't have a problem keeping up similar paces to regular running without them. Without them, if I run in ice or slush, I have to go really slowly to be careful, and don't get the same workout. There are also some paths around me which get cleared of snow by the parks, but they're short and I like to branch out more than that.
Mile (road) - 6:17 (2011)
5K - 21:40 (2011)
10K - 46:36 (2011) - 1st ever
15K - 1:15:44 (2011) - 1st ever
Half-Marathon - 1:50:19 (2010) - 1st ever
Personal blog tracking my entry into competitive racing at age 44.
I am using the winter season (I live in Michigan) to cross train, building core, quad, glute and hammy strength: planks, lunges, squats,
stepups, etc. I have cut my running volume down about half (use an indoor track at a gym) and do more intervals. I do not like treadmills and never suggest buying one - they are expensive, take up a lot of space and end up as clothes hangars. I swim in the gym pool 3 times a week. I am lucky to have a community fitness gym close by with pool, track and weight/machines, one treadmill and a couple bikes, for only $140/year at a local high school). I am anticipating that my race pace will be better doing x-training than if I had just slogged and slipped through the ice and snow for the next 4-5 months.
Get geared up with wicking underlayers. My greatest success came from compression clothing as an underlayer, then my regular tech-t, a warm wicking overlayer. Keep wind resistent pants and top around (should be light windbreaker type) for the high wind and/or wet days. Trail shoes are best in city or town running when snow or ice are present (assuming you know how to safely cross such things). Be sure to have good wind breaking shells for outer gloves and wicking compression gloves under that.
As for breathing cold air? There are ways to handle it, but better talk to your doctor first. No way for us to know your medical history, and best discussed with med pro.
On top of everything, be sure to select a route as you acclimate that allows you to get someplace safe and warm in case anything (cramps, bathroom, God Forbid injury) should happen. Leave the phone at home, it HATES the extreme cold.
Above all else, enjoy the run. If you aren't then don't do it and try your best to cross-train.
SummerFest - Rock 'n Sole Half-Marathon:
I run year round. I live in a Chicago suburb. Layers are key once the temps drop. The worst park of winter running for me is the wind chill. I use head bands to over ears and my neck. I use yax trax if its really icy out. I also have a pair of Salomon goretex shoes. They keep my feet warm but they are heavier than my usual shoes so I cannot run as far in them.
You could always run on a dreadmill. But I don't like that.
I read an article from Active.com that talked about how to keep running in the cold and one thing they recommended is a five minute walk/warm up to get your lungs acclimated to the cold air. I always start that way and I haven't had any trouble with my lungs.
Also, I hardly feel the cold after that first 1/2 mile. By three I am positively toasty!
Hi. Hope you're making out ok so far this winter. In the NE, it's been pretty mild so far. I would second the use of a balaclava. They're great when the weather is sub-freezing and there's a wind. They often come in a very thin fabric which can make breathing much easier. I use one for winter sports. As for layering, I have no use for this practice. Every time I do, my inner layer gets trapped with perspiration and then wets me and the other layers and I freeze even more. The only solution I've found has been to have only one heavy layer or, two the most, make sure the air hits me to "wick away" the moisture, and, in worst case, stop to change shirts or to turn the shirts inside out.
I do belong to a gym where I use the weight machines and dumbbells and occasionally take a class. I work on the TMs quite a lot, year-round, doing speed work. The gym is also useful for having a mat area where members can do exercises and stretches. A gym seems quite indispensible to me and, especially, in foul weather.
Sunset Classic 5m, Bloomfield, NJ, 6/11.............................................:40:43
Grings Mill 10k, Reading, PA, 8/11.......................................................:51:15
Battle of Brooklyn 10m, Brooklyn, NY, 8/11...........................................1:26
Yonkers' Marathon, Yonkers, NY, 9/11................................................:..4:08
Blues Cruise 50k, Leesport, PA , 10/11....................................................6:23
i grew up in boston, where it gets down below zero sometimes and is well below freezing every night
in january and february, as well as parts of december and march. i'm just getting back into running
but in my teens and 20's i ran at least 3-4 x per week. i wouldn't recommend running at night like
i used to, but if you see walkways that are plowed or quiet streets (usually plenty of them available
within a day or 2 of most snow storms) you can chart out a regular route. the only problem is ice,
which just requires you running with care. i don't remember ever slipping while jogging or even
coming close to it. no matter how cold it gets, when you run you will warm up quickly and i used
to take my jacket off outside even on the coldest night when i got back from runs. the trick is just
to layer-up. i never worried about my legs being too cold but sometimes i wore long johns under
sweats anyways, with 2 pairs of socks usually, a t-shirt, a long shirt over it, a sweat shirt over that,
and a jacket over that, sometimes a hat. i was HOT after a few miles, even on 10-20 degree nights.
the cold air takes getting used to maybe the first mile, and your nose may get a little cold, but
i think running in the cold is good for you. it makes your house feel warmer when you get back, too!
sadly i moved to the tampa bay area and it's around 80 and sunny these days, and we even get
beach days in jan/feb. oh yes, i really miss scraping the ice of my car windows in the morning and
I really liked Lagavulin16's suggestion of having a baseline temperature in mind that you are able to run in. I do that, too. I'll note the temp as I'm heading out, so in the future, if it's say 20 degrees and I'm wavering on whether or not I want to run in that cold, I can think back and tell myself, "You've run in 20 degrees before and it wasn't that bad, you can do it again." Low temps can't be my excuse for skipping a run. Yeah, I need a lot of motivational self-talk sometimes.