Cold weather running isn't a whole lot different from warm weather running, but there are a few nuances runners should take into account before setting off on a chilly day. From attire to hydration to post running activities, there are definitely a few things to have in mind when heading out for a run on a cold day.
Here are four great tips for you to know for running in the cold:
1) Dress as you would if it were 10-15 degrees warmer
Obviously, one of the key aspects of running in the cold is knowing what to wear and how many layers you should have on. You don't want to go out bare-skinned on a very cold day, so just a tank top and shorts won't cut it. You also don't want to set off on a run with heaps of clothes on and find yourself getting extremely sweaty and wishing you could shed some layers mid-run.
Therefore, you'll want to wear clothing that prevents you from being too cold but also doesn't overheat as you ramp up the exercise. Naturally, your body will begin to heat up the longer or faster you go, so starting off warm isn't in your best interest. A good rule of thumb is to dress as you would do on a normal day if it were 10 or 15 degrees warmer. Now, when looking at the temperature, look for the information that says "feels like," because there are often factors like wind chill or humidity that can make a difference in the temperature.
On an extremely cold day, some tight leggings, a t-shirt with Under Armour sleeves underneath, gloves, and something to keep your ears warm should work perfectly. If it's going to be particularly cold, a hoodie or a windbreaker, and an extra pair of socks can be really helpful as well.
2) Have a spare set of clothes ready to change into
When our bodies get very heated up, such as when we go for runs, we naturally begin to sweat in an effort to cool down. Even on the coldest of days our bodies will generate sweat, which can make our clothing really wet. After the run, you'll likely have on some cold, wet clothes which can become extremely uncomfortable on the ride or walk home. As such, it's a good idea to bring a spare set of clothing to change into so that you can get your body warm and dry. It feels good and allows you to recover better on the way home.
3) Hydrate as you would if it were hot
Even though you might feel more thirsty during a hot day, it's just as important to stay hydrated when it's cold out. The cold weather can sometimes trick us into believing we aren't sweating out as many fluids, but this is not typically the case. Make sure to be consuming plenty of water before, during, and after your run to ensure that you are dehydrated on your run.
4) If it's icy, run indoors or use a treadmill
Down south, ice isn't as big of a deal, but for those in colder areas of the country, be careful not to run on sidewalks or roads if it's icy outdoors. The last thing you want to do is slip and fall while running, which can lead to a broken bone in your leg or hip, a twisted ankle, or at best a bruised butt. Sometimes ice on a sidewalk will be invisible, so try and test out the running surface by walking around first. If it does turn out to be too icy, just look for a gymnasium, or an indoor facility to run in. If all else fails, you can always turn to a treadmill.