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Planning for Smart Cold Weather Running

12/9/2020 - Staff Writer - Running


Lower outdoor temperatures require dressing and preparing differently for your run. Keep off the treadmill this season and learn how to enjoy and elevate your outdoor run with these simple planning tips.

It's All About the Layers

The body heats up quickly when it gets moving. Layering helps regulate body temperature and is key for cold weather running.

However, it is important to layer properly, since over-bundled body parts could result in overheating. A good base layer at the bottom of your clothing choices is critical so that when it is time to remove layers, the correct layer is underneath. Tie unneeded layers like a long sleeve shirt or jacket around the waist.

Check Your Local Weather Report

Now you know layering is important - but how do you decide how much to layer? A good starting point is to add 10 to 15 degrees to the outside temperature. This accounts for the fact that your body temperature will rise quickly, and allows you to estimate your body’s running temperature so you can dress accordingly. Keep in mind that windchill needs to be taken into consideration as well. Always use the “feel like” temperature to calculate running temperature.

Another strategy for windy days is to run into the wind on the way out and have the wind at the back on the return from the run. Running into the wind when your body is wet and sweaty will cause a chill quickly.

Plan an Effective Route

Planning your route effectively can also help manage the rapid temperature changes that come with a cold weather run. The best way to plan for the warming effect is to run a loop by your house or car so extra layers can be dropped off.

Once you stop running, the body cools down just as quickly as it heated up. Make a run schedule and course that allows you to get immediately out of wet clothes. Bring dry clothes to change into or take a warm shower if that is an option.

Worth the Effort

There certainly are many benefits to running and physical activity, even in the cold weather. Staying aware and up-to-date on weather is ultimately the best way to stay active, keep safe and healthy and enjoy your run. The treadmill can remain the last resort on those days when temperatures drop below freezing and local weather warnings advise to stay indoors.

Need more cold weather running advice, or ready to shop for some gear to maximize your run? Check out our Cold Weather Running Gear page to make sure you have everything you need.


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