Fall is upon us and winter is following closely on its heels. For those who truly love to run in the morning, the weather doesn’t get in the way. That said, without preparing properly the cold, windy weather could take a lot of fun out of your favorite activity or could even put you at risk of hurting yourself.
Keep the joy in your morning runs and avoid getting injured at the same time by using the right cold weather hacks to stay cozy while you enjoy the fresh air, vitamin D and endorphins. Here are a few to get you started.
1. Focus on your hands, feet and ears – When your extremities get cold, you’re miserable. It may seem obvious to say that you should keep them warm when it’s cold out, but many people miss this step or don’t achieve it properly. Use high quality socks for warmth, moisture wicking and padding at the same time. Avoid cotton socks that will only hold the moisture against your feet. Chose good quality mittens or gloves and, on very cold days, grab some hand warmers for the inside of your gloves, too. Don’t like using the disposable ones? Make your own by sewing a little “pillow” of extra fabric filled with dry rice. Throw it in the microwave for a few seconds right before you toss them into your mitts and head out the door.
2. Dress like it’s warmer than it is – It’s always important to dress warmly enough, but don’t bundle up in the same way as you would if you were just going to be standing at the bus stop. Keep in mind that you’re going to be moving and warming up quickly. The last thing you’ll want to do is feel like you’re dressed in a sauna while you’re trying to run. Aim to dress as though it is 15ºF warmer outside than it really is. Keep your extremities warm, but don’t begin your run in a bulky down parka if you’ll only end up having to take it off halfway through.
3. Layer – If it’s extremely cold out, layer your clothing strategically so you’ll be able to keep yourself toasty without drowning in sweat. Keep a moisture wicking inside layer against your body, an insulating middle layer, and a wind-breaking, water resistant outer layer (preferably with vents you can open and close). Look into a great pair of cold weather running tights, too.
4. Warm up indoors – When you do your warm up while you’re inside, you’ll not only be more effective at getting your muscles warm, but you’ll also be better equipped to choose your gear. When you’re feeling cold, you’re more likely to reach for heavier clothes than you’ll need once you really get going. If you warm up inside, then you will feel far more comfortable following hack number 2 on this list.