I've been running consistently, at least three times a week for a couple years now. I live where the Winters are cold and snowy, and last year I moved all my workouts and runs into a gym, but I really didn't love it. I decided that this year, I wouldn't let the cold stop me from continuing my outdoor runs. Can you give me some advice for dealing with the cold, snow, and ice?
— Not Afraid of the Cold Carla
First of all, good for you for staying motivated to run outside, even when Winter is in full force. I'm sure many readers can relate to feeling disgruntled about ending their runs outside. To hear some tips on how to deal with the cold conditions
- Wearing wicking clothes is a must, and be sure your gear blocks the wind. Avoid overdressing because you'll end up sweating, which will make you freeze.
- Prevent frostbite by wearing gloves and slightly thicker socks. You'll also want to wear one of those face and neck masks to protect your cheeks and nose. You may look a little weird, but people already think you're crazy for running in the Winter, so who cares, right?
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun's reflection on the snow.
- If you prefer running in a few inches of snow (or don't have the option not to), spring for a pair of sporty waterproof boots, or racing snowshoes. Wear a pair of gaitors to keep your lower legs dry.
- If you want to wear your sneakers, and there's only an inch of snow on the ground, you can attach a pair of YakTrax to the soles of your shoes to add traction. Get a set of the Yaktrax Pro ($30), since these are made for running.
- After your run, get out of your wet clothes immediately. Staying in them can put you at risk for hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature).
- Another important thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the conditions won't allow for a Winter run. If the temps drop in the single digits or below zero, or the ground is covered in ice or black ice, remember that it's OK to choose the treadmill. You don't want to risk injuring or overexerting yourself.