Some things to consider when running in cold weather

Today’s temperature is about twenty five degrees warmer than Friday, and it feels great outside. How long will the warm weather last, not sure, but it is much more comfortable running in +10 degrees than -15 F.

For those who want to endure the cold while running, here are a few things to think about before you do.

  1. Dress in layers, and if at all possible use material that wicks away the perspiration. Keep exposed skin to a minimum, and protect the fingers, toes, and nose.
  2. Don’t over dress. If you are comfortable in the cold before you start the run, you will be miserable and sweating your ass off in the middle of your run. Being soaked in sweat is fine in the summer months, but soaked in the winter leads to injuries.
  3. Know where you are running and prepare for the worst. If you run in a neighborhood, or in town, there are plenty of places you can go to to get out of the cold in cas e of emergency. When running in these locations, traveling lite is fine. If you are planning to run trails or back roads, you need to bring some extra gear. Put some additional layers of clothing in a fanny pack, or small back pack. Thick socks are a good idea to also have on hand. If you twist your ankle on a busy street or in a neighborhood, no biggie, help is readily available. Twist your ankle on a trail, or back road, you may be in a survival situation. You are already sweating, now possibly immobile, or the very least slowed down, and now you are a possible candidate for hypothermia. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
  4. Wear a reflective belt, or vest for hours of darkness, even if you plan to run sidewalks. Ice and snow build up on a sidewalk may force you to move to the street until you get past the obstacle. Always plan on the drivers being idiots, and make yourself as visible as possible. (that takes away the “I didn’t see you” excuse and verifies t heir idiot status.
  5. If you are using a balaclava, ski mask, or some sort of face mask to cover your mouth, cheeks and nose remember that once you put it on, don’t take it off until back in shelter. Many people start the run wearing a face cover, but when they start breathing hard, or start to over heat, they remove it. Exposing those moisture soaked cheeks to cold and wind chill will give you a good case of face chap, or if cold enough, frost bite. If you think chapped lips are annoying, try a beard of chap and see how you like it. I rarely use a face covering when I run, but i have one with me, and when the nose and cheeks tell me it’s time, I use it.

Don’t let the weather keep you from running, or enjoying the outdoors. Just be smart about what you plan to do, and be prepared.

Till next time, take care and good running

Tim

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