Gear Up for Winter Running
The Ridge Run is six months away, but that doesn’t mean you should spend the winter hibernating.
Bev Lynch, owner of Running Excels, 10328 S. Western, encourages people to keep up with a running schedule so they don’t lose strength, pace and fitness.
Winter weather does pose some challenges for runners and walkers. Lynch offers the following tips for braving the cold, snow and ice.
Run with a buddy or a group. Having someone waiting for you keeps you motivated to maintain a running schedule, and it’s more fun and safer when you’re not running alone.
Keep it light. If possible, run during daylight hours. If not, make sure to wear reflective clothing or accessories in the dark, and bright clothing when it’s snowy. Run against the traffic so you can see vehicles coming toward you, day or night.
Keep drinking. Hydration is just important in the winter as it is in the summer.
Warm up. The colder the weather, the longer it will take your muscles to warm up. Before you start running, walk for at least five minutes.
Adjust your stride. To reduce the chance of slipping on snow and ice, shorten your strides and keep your feet closer to the ground.
Add traction. You get more traction running on fresh snow, but around here, snow gets packed down and icy pretty fast. Consider running in trail shoes or using traction accessories.
Take it inside. When the weather gets too cold, train indoors. Treadmills, spinning bikes and indoor running tracks are excellent options. Winter is a good time to add in disciplines like weight training and yoga that enhance strength and flexibility. Check into local fitness places for a variety of options.
Dress for the Weather
Better a little cold than too hot. The general rule is to dress for 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the temperature (make sure to factor in wind chill!). Consider that the longer the run, the faster the pace and the larger your body mass, the warmer you’ll get.
Layer. You want to be warm enough but not too sweaty. Choose clothing and accessories that can be unzipped, adjusted or removed, if needed. Runner’s World magazine offers this as a guide:
30–39 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves and headband.
20–29 degrees: two shirts layered (i.e. long sleeve shirt and jacket), running tights, gloves and headband or hat.
10–19 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, and wind proof jacket and pants.
0–9 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, wind proof breaker jacket/pants, mittens, headband or hat, ski mask or neck gaiter to cover face.
Fabric matters. Choose tech fabrics or merino wool for layers closest to your skin and for socks to reduce moisture. Avoid cotton – it holds moisture, which can make you cold and more vulnerable to hypothermia.
Running Excels sells winter running gear, accessories, shoes and more. They also organize free training groups and other runner activities. Info: runningexcels.com. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., 12 to 5 p.m.