Running into spring
Your how-to guide for cold weather running
By Kourtney Meldrum, Staff Writer
Lets face the facts, it’s cold out and winter is still lingering well into spring. But if you’re like me the final days of snow and below freezing temperatures won’t dampen your spirits and keep you from enjoying a nice outdoor run.
Outside running is tricky, and not as easy as lacing up your shoes on a nice sunny day. There are many more things to consider when you’re running in the winter if you want to keep safe and healthy.
Make sure to dress properly:
- Layers, layers, layers! Try for an insulating layer, base layer, and windproof shell to keep you warm.
- Keep your hands covered with mittens (they’re warmer than gloves) and your head covered with a hat or thick warm headband. This will help you preserve some of your heat since heat loss starts from extremities.
- Highly consider wearing ice grips for greater traction to prevent slipping.
- Cover all your exposed skin so you can fight off frostbite.
- Wear one pair of thermal socks to keep those toes nice and toes-ty.
You might have to change some things up to adjust to the cold temperatures:
- Begin with a good warm-up and take your time building up your pace so that your muscles have the chance to heat up. Doing so will allow you to adapt to running in cold weather.
- Shorten your strides so you are less likely to slip in icy areas.
- If there’s a high windchill try to plan your run so you run into the wind on your way to your destination and have it against your back as you finish.
- Consider running in a loop close to your home or car so you’re not too far from some warmth or help if you’re having problems or getting too cold.
Keep in Mind
- Be aware that hypothermia is a real possibility if you’re running in extreme cold or for long periods of time. Signs of hypothermia to keep in mind: incoherent or slurred speech, clumsy fingers and poor coordination. If you see or feel any of this seek medical attention right away.
- If you’re not used to running in the cold it’s possible that you’ll experience more muscle soreness in your legs because your supporting muscles are working hard to control your balance on the ice.
- It is possible to freeze your lungs so if the cold air bothers you, consider wearing a face mask or balaclava to counteract this.
- Don’t underestimate frostbite. It’s nasty and can have lasting effects. If you have frostbite the area will feel numb or dead, may become white and have blotchy patches and if you press into the area it will not come back to shape right away. If you think you may have frostbite, run the area under warm (not hot) water and seek medical attention.
- Keep your cell phone and some money on you in case you get into trouble and can’t make it back home.
When running through the 403 with your woes:
- You know how much cold your body can handle. Either way, it probably isn’t a good idea to run in -30° because that’s really not a safe temperature for anyone.
- Don’t pick cold weather running as the time to push for your personal best – your body just isn’t as efficient in the cold.
- Running with a partner isn’t the worst idea. If you fail to see the signs that you should cut your run short – hopefully they will.
The Good Stuff
Cold weather running isn’t that bad, though:
- You’ll burn more calories because your body is working harder to regulate body temperature.
- Your heart works harder to distribute blood in the body so you’re strengthening your cardiac muscles.
- It gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors during the colder months.
If you’re eager to get some Chinook sunshine on your face, looking to burn off some energy and are ready to embrace the cold temperatures, give winter running a chance!
There are few better feelings than making the first tracks on a fresh snow covered path and running past snow-capped pine trees in the quiet stillness of winter. Get ready to welcome the cold weather with open arms and short strides and get active outside this spring!