December 17 2013, 0 Comments
Love running but hate the chill of winter? Don’t put your training on hold when the cold weather sets in, try out six fantastic stay-warm tips and enjoy the being outdoors when the temperature has dropped.
1. Layer Your Clothing
Any dedicated outdoor enthusiast will tell you that the key to staying warm in cooler climes is wearing multiple layers of clothing. Don’t go for bulk, however, as this will restrict your movement, instead choose thinner, hard-working garments which are designed to be worn for running. Your inner layer should be a vest or thermal underwear made from technical fabric which wicks away perspiration to prevent you from catching a chill. A mid-layer can be used to trap body-heat and keep your core warm, while a wind and water-proof outer should be added on blowy, rainy days.
2. Protect Your Extremities
Protecting your extremities – feet, hands and head – helps to preserve body heat and can prevent that miserable numb-cold sensation that many outdoor runners experience. A thermal or fleece hat will prevent heat loss from your head, while gloves or mittens keep your hands snug. Don’t forget your feet either, choose socks which are thick enough to keep you warm, but with moisture-wicking properties.
3. Not Overdressing
Although wearing enough clothing on cold weather runs is essential, don’t make the mistake of over doing it and wearing too much. As you run, your body temperature will naturally increase and under thick layers will quickly become uncomfortable as your start to sweat. Many experts recommend that you dress as though the temperature is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is to counteract this effect.
4. Adapt Your Training Plan
Training in cold weather intensifies the demands on your body and you will need to adapt your routine to allow for this. Warm-up before you leave the house by performing stretches, jogging on the spot or using a jump-rope to get your body ready for the change in temperature. When you do head outside, plan to run more slowly than usual and when you return home, change into warm, dry clothes immediately to avoid catching a chill.
5. Diet & Hydration
What you eat and drink before running in cold weather can significantly effect your performance, and help you to stay warmer when you are outdoors. During digestion, a reaction called thermogenesis occurs, which raises your body temperature by around 10% for between 30 and 60 minutes after eating. Carbohydrate-rich, warm foods such as soup, oatmeal porridge and milky drinks are excellent choices. Staying properly hydrated will also have a major effect – sufficient liquid will aid proper blood circulation, especially to extremities such as the fingers.
6. Protect Your Skin & Eyes
Icy winds and freezing gusts can dry your skin and cause cracked lips, so take steps to protect yourself from the elements before you set out. Apply a high SPF sunblock even when you run on dull, grey days and use a lip-salve to moisturise your lips. In conditions of snow and bright sunlight, you will find that sunglasses are a boon which will minimize the risk of snow-blindness.