Friday 5 – 5 Tips for Cold Weather Running

It’s Friday again (thank goodness it happens every week)!  And Friday means Friday Five Link up with Courtney at Eat Run Pray DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run for the weekly link-up. If you haven’t checked out these ladies blogs yet, you totally should. They are fun, feisty and not afraid to call it like they see it.

Cold Weather Running

I love winter running, of course I live in California in the central valley which means that our temps don’t drop that low and we don’t get snow at our extreme elevation of about 50 feet above sea level.  So winter running is fairly easy here.  The one thing in addition to rain (please God, let us get rain this year) that we get a lot of in the winter time is windy conditions.  Our average winter temps here are highs in the 50’s and low’s in the 40’s.  So they’re pretty mild compared to else where in the country.  And temps in the southern part of the state are much different then the temps here in the northern part.

So here’s my five tips for running during “cold” weather.

1.  Layers – even in california where our temps are pretty mild you need layers.  It might be 45 when you start out but if you’re not wearing the proper clothing you can put yourself at risk for injury if you don’t protect yourself from the cold temps.  It’s pretty rare for me to wear long leggings that go down to my ankles.  I prefer to wear capris during the winter time with a long sleeve shirt and a light jacket or even a short sleeve shirt and a jacket.  Gloves are a must for me.  If my hands are cold I can’t regulate my body temperature very well.  But after a couple of miles, my gloves will come off and the jacket will get unzipped or pulled off and tied around my waist.  Layers.  I want to have comfortable run, neither too hot or too cold.  Hats are helpful too for regulating that body tempature.

2.  Hydrate – even though it’s cold you still need to make sure that you’re drinking, especially during your long runs.  Each breath out is water out of your system, not to mention sweating.  Cold weather makes me not want to drink so I try to find a rhythm to it.  I try to take a sip of water every couple of miles and always drink when I eat or take Gu on a long run.  And don’t forget to drink your water before and after your runs too.  If it’s really cold out and I don’t feel like water, I’ll substitute cold or room temperature water for hot herbal tea.  Anything to get that water into my system.

3. Run into the wind – Winter here brings windy conditions.  I’m no meteorologist, but being close to the Sacramento River Delta, we get crazy wind in the winter time and boy can it be cold.  It feels like it’s going straight to your bones some days.  If you can, on your way out, run into the wind as much as possible.  For one, it’ll be at your back on your way home helping push you home and it will not be in your face when you’re at your sweatiest.  This will help prevent you from catching a chill on your way home.

4.  Visibility – With shorter days, chances are that at some point you’re going to find yourself running in the dark.  Wednesday, I got caught out without my reflective vest and while I didn’t have any close calls I felt like drivers just couldn’t see me while I was crossing the street and it wasn’t a good feeling.  Being seen can be the difference between being seen and being hit by a car.  There are a lot of different ways to be seen.  I like a reflective vest but there’s also flashing lights that attach to your clothing and shoes, knuckle lights, bright clothing and headlamps.

5.  Shower – After your run, if you’re feeling chilled, take a warm shower.  Get out of those sweaty clothes that are sapping your body heat and get into a warm shower.  Nothing makes me feel better than taking a nice warm shower after a cold run.  Slipping into cozy sweats or pajamas after a hard run makes me so happy.

Do you have any tips to make winter running more safe and enjoyable?

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