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 Running in the Cold 
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Post Running in the Cold
Running in the Cold
by: Sandra Prior

Get Motivated

Make a date to meet someone for a run. There's no wimping out when someone is waiting. Take it from one of the coldest running clubs in the world. John Stanton, the founder of the Running Room in Edmonton, Alberta, says the club's Wednesday and Sunday group runs are popular in winter, when the average high is -8°C. In January and February, the Running Room hosts the Hypothermic Half-Marathon, which attracts 3500 runners in 14 cities across the world - even at temps as low as -20°C. ‘There's a big, free brunch afterward,’ Stanton says. ‘People will do anything for omelets and pancakes.’

Solo? Tell yourself that you can go back inside after five minutes if it's really bad. Usually you stay out there. Of course, not everyone objects to winter weather. A night run during a light rain is one of the most peaceful things you can experience.

Your Feet

To keep warmth in and cold, wet rain out, run in shoes that has the least amount of mesh. If you have shoes with Gore-Tex uppers, all the better. Wear socks that wick away wetness but keep your feet warm. Usually thinner socks work better since they absorb less water and dry easier.

Get Dressed

You want to be warm without sweating so much you get a chill. The rule of thumb is to dress as if it is 5 degrees warmer. You should be slightly cool when you start. Think layers of technical fabrics, to wick sweat, with zippers at the neck and underarm area to vent air as you heat up. Shop around to find out what works best for your circumstances. Running jackets are an investment for outdoor comfort and they last for years.

Be Seen

With limited daylight, chances are you'll be running in the dark. Wear reflective, fluorescent gear, and don't be shy about lighting yourself up like a Christmas tree. I use a headlamp or carry a flashlight, less so I can see where I'm going and more so people can see me.

Warm up; Pre-run

Move around inside enough to get the blood flowing without breaking a sweat. Run up and down your stairs, use a jump rope, or do a few yoga sun salutations. A speedy house-cleaning works, too. The cold doesn't feel so cold when you're warm. If you're meeting a group of running buddies, don't stand around in the cold chatting before you run. We sit in our cars, waiting for one person to get out before we all get out.

Deal with Wind

Start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back, so the breeze doesn't blast you after you've broken a sweat.

To avoid a long, biting slog, you can break this into segments, running into the wind for about 10 minutes, turning around to run with the wind at your back for five minutes, and repeating. You can also seek man-made wind protection. When we get wind here, it can be like a hurricane. The buildings downtown block it.

Protect exposed skin.

I use Vaseline on my nose and on my cheeks to prevent frostbite. You can also buy a Buff to protect exposed areas, especially the ears.

Forget Speed

Winter running is more about maintenance kilometres than speedwork. In very cold weather, look for ‘inversions,’ places that are elevated and where the air will be warmer.

Even 90 metres up, the air can be six degrees warmer, which makes a big difference. If you can't run in the middle of the day when the temperatures are warmest, run twice a day, 5km in the morning and 5km in the evening: That's better than doing one long 10km run where you might get very cold.

Change Quickly

Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running. To avoid a lingering case of the chills, change your clothes - head to toe - as soon as you can. Women need to get out of damp sports bras quickly. Put a dry hat on wet hair. And drink something hot. We go to a coffee shop after, and take turns using the bathroom to change. Then we all relax with coffee and muffins. Driving to a run? Bring a thermos of green tea or hot chocolate.

Deal with Rain

I have a spare pair of sneakers, a running outfit, and three beach towels. When it's raining, I slip my stocking feet into plastic bags, then put on my running shoes. The bags keep my feet dry even when I run through puddles. Most wet weather runners rotate pairs of shoes. If you have to dry shoes overnight, crumple up newspaper and cram it tightly into your shoes, with the insoles removed. The newspaper soaks up the moisture. When drying running shoes however, don't put them in the oven or tumble dry since it destroys the glue keeping the bits together.

About The Author
Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

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Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:39 pm
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