So you’ve graduated from the treadmill and are ready to brave the snow-covered streets at long last, but what should you expect from your winter jaunts?
Whether you’ve taken a break from winter running and forgotten what it’s like out there, or if you’re trying it out for the first time, here’s what you can expect from your chilly runs and some advice to make the miles as enjoyable as possible.
1. Have the right gear
Before you go out into the elements, make sure you have the right gear for cold weather running. Pick up a pair of running cleats, grab some good quality gloves, a hat, an insulating layer for top and bottom, a wind-breaking layer up top, and good wool socks. Keep an open mind with your wardrobe. If something doesn’t work, scrap it and try something different.
2. Don’t think too hard about what you’re about to do
If you think too much about how hard it’s going to be, your run will be miserable. Whatever you do, don’t listen to this inner voice, it’s a Debby Downer. Tell yourself you’re going to get out there and run, then get out there and run.
3. Set your expectations
You’re not going to PR on your winter runs, you’re going to log miles. Running on snow and ice is sometimes awkward, your gear is heavier, and your muscles are cold. Let all of this weirdness happen and accept that you’re not going to be able to hold your normal cruising pace, but you’re out there, and that’s a win in itself.
4. Start slowly
Your muscles need extra time to warm up when temperatures are low, so take things slowly. Be prepared to run your first mile at a snails-pace and don’t been too hard on yourself. Use this extra time to adjust your gait, get used to your gear, feel out the terrain and appreciate yourself for getting out into the elements.
5. Use caution
Be extra cautious when running around street corners, and if you run in the road be very aware of road conditions, drivers and their behavior, give cars extra space if needed. During your run, pay attention to icy areas, and if snow covers the ground you may not be able to see obstacles in your path.
6. Walk it off
If you get too cold, walk. Your body builds up heat, and the wind you create when you move forward in colder temperatures can actually remove body heat faster than you can create it. By walking, you stop the added airflow and allow your insulating layers to do their job so you’ll get a little warmer. Take a couple walking steps, and continue your run.
7. Zone out
Once you figure all your gear, pacing and the weather conditions out, you can start to really enjoy what you’re doing and get in the zone. Notice how quiet everything might be, and how majestic the landscape is. You can also think about how much of a badass you are for running outside in the winter. Go ahead, embrace the crazy.