November 19 2014
Hal Koerner, one of America’s best ultrarunners, shares his tips for snowy runs.
Baby, it’s cold outside! With records lows sweeping the country, runners everywhere are battling freezing temps for the sake of a run. Don’t let an icy chill bench your workout – try these 5 Critical Winter Running Tips to stay the course when the weather drops low!
1. Protect your feet. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your feet, causing you to lose feeling in your tootsies. Combat numbness by keeping your feet as warm and safe as possible. Wool socks and proper winter shoes are key to comfortable feet. Though many running shoes boast mesh uppers, consider investing in a pair of kicks that are made for winter running. Look for gore-tex materials and durable tread to battle snow and icy conditions. Pair the shoes with run-specific wool socks for the perfect toasty combination. For those who run on slippery surfaces (AKA ice or packed snow), you may want to check out a set YakTrax spikes for better protection (yaktrax.com).
2. Dress right. An easy guideline to remember is to layer up like it’s 20 degrees warmer outside than it actually is. Though this may mean a slight chill at the start, you’ll warm up comfortably once your heart starts pumping blood throughout your body. For help deciding what layers you need, check out our helpful winter gear layering guide here.
3. Warm-up inside. Jump start your workout with a quick warm-up inside before braving the temps outdoors. A good round of jumping jacks or high knee exercises will begin your core heater, making the first steps outside more tolerable.
4. Plan your wind strategy. If windy conditions will add to the chill, consider braving the wind head-on for the first half of your run. Getting the hardest part over first is a great way to trick yourself into a good run. Finishing with the wind at your back makes the final stretch feel better than struggling to get inside. Another idea is to plan your course for strategic wind blocks. If you have access to an area with wind barriers (large buildings or tall trees), you might want to run a route through this area on particularly windy days in order to lessen the wind burden.
5. Hot rewards. The allure of a hot shower and warm clothes will put some pep in your winter running step. Finish off a cold run by stepping into a hot shower followed by warm, comfy clothes. After the run your core temp will drop quickly, making it crucial to trade sweaty clothes for fresh and toasty layers. After a few minutes under the hot water, we have no doubt you’ll be singing in the shower!