Running in the cold weather

Running in the cold weather

Running_shoesIf you thought you couldn’t keep jogging in the cold, harsh Québec winter even if the days are shorter, and the temperature hovers below zero, you’re wrong.

Here are 12 guidelines for running in the cold, compiled by an expert runner and a college level Phys Ed teacher.

1.    Don’t dress too heavily.
It’s important to not sweat when running in winter, you end up being colder than if you stay dry. The best thing is to layer yourself (onion skin) with undergarments, (sport long johns) and an insulated sweater covered by a light windbreaker. Legs should be covered with loose windbreaker material over the long johns. You’ll be cold at first, but after a few minutes your body will warm up.

2.    Keep body extremities warm.
Most body heat is lost through the head, hands and feet, so keep them covered. A tuque with ear covering, mittens in lieu of gloves and long wool socks should be the norm. Insulated running shoes are recommended.

3.    Stay out of the wind.
As much as possible, try to avoid running against the wind. Your normal route can be adapted to run east west or north south.

4.    Always remain visible day or night.
Wear bright colours if running during the day and something with reflectors or white clothing at night. Always run against the traffic.

5.    Shorten your run when it’s slippery or snowy.
Don’t take the risk of wearing yourself out by running too far on unstable footing. One fall and your whole jogging career could be over forever.

6.    Maybe wear studs on your shoes.
This is a touchy subject, as sometimes you may be on ice and at the same time be on asphalt. If it’s really, really, slippery “crampons” can be practical, but they are dangerous if you suddenly end up on pavement. Probably better to run where there is no ice.

7.    Leave the stopwatch at home.
Impossible to keep the same rhythm in winter. Don’t try to maintain the same time and or distance. When you start to feel uncomfortable, stop and go home. You’ll only make yourself sick.

8.    Protect your skin.
Use skin creams on your face and any other exposed skin. Cold dehydrates, and the sun reflecting off the snow can also be damaging, a sun block cream could be useful too. Keep lips protected with a lip balm.

9.    If the weather is really bad, stay home.
You can always exercise indoors if the need be, or take a day off. Your body will catch up the next day.

10.    Drink lots of liquid, preferably water.
As any runner knows, all muscles and joints need lubrication and in winter the need is even more important. Water is best because there is no sugar.

11.    Always carry your cellphone.
Together with an identity card of some sort, you can always be safe if any kind of accident or problem arises. Of course this rule applies all year long.

12.    There are other ways to remain in shape.
Treadmills, stationary bikes or stationary running can all be done indoors if need be.

Other things to know.

Lungs do not freeze from breathing cold air.
They may burn a little, but will function. A neck warmer can always be useful if you feel that burning sensation.
Women feel the cold much more than men.
Keep that in mind when dressing for the cold.
Running does not increase the chance of getting a cold.
If you are feeling ill or have a cold however it is recommended to not make things worse by running outside unnecessarily.
……………………………………………………… Staff Writer

Categories: Sports

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