Winter Running

Posted: January 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

Since most of us are in the midst of training for the 2013 Boston Marathon, we are forced to face the challenges of training through the New England winter. We have been extremely fortunate to this point with respect to the moderate temperatures and lack of snowfall. But I suspect we’re eventually going to see more typical weather for this time of year.

Here are a few recommendations that I have for managing the challenges of winter running:

Clothing

• Dressing for temperatures 20 degrees warmer will prevent you from becoming too warm in the latter miles of the run.

• Avoid cotton entirely. Wicking material will keep you dry and reduce the chances of becoming hypothermic.

• Wear a thin base layer close to your body and add needed layers based on the conditions.

• Most of your body heat will escape through your head and hands. Fleece hats and gloves are a great choice.

• Zippers allow you to regulate your core temperature. Begin runs with the zippers fully closed. As body temperature rise, unzip them. Close them again in the closing miles as resources are low and the need to retain body heat is greater.

• Wear reflective material, particularly on your wrists and ankles, as the movement from these body parts is more likely to catch the attention of motorists.

• Change into warm and comfortable clothes immediately upon completing your runs.

Shoes

• Trail Running shoes are a great option on snow and ice covered roads as they tend to have more traction and structure and may even have a Gore Tex lining.

• Yak Trax and similar outsole options are great for ice covered roads.

• You can also place small screws into the lugs of your outsoles where your feet strike the road. This can become problematic when you’re running on a dry surface, however. I recommend this option for the worst possible conditions.

• Placing duct tape over the front/top of your shoes will help keep your feet warm on arctic days.

Miscellaneous

• One of the more common misconceptions is that you don’t have to hydrate as much in colder temperatures. I actually stay more hydrated in the winter as the lack of humidity is problematic. It’s also far better for your skin.

• Runners tend to be less disciplined with sunscreen during the winter months. I recommend protecting your exposed skin as much as possible. Wearing proper sunglasses is equally important.

• On extremely cold and windy days apply vaseline to your face to prevent chafing.

• Begin your runs into the wind so that you will have some reserves for the closing miles of your runs.

• Avoid roads with heavy traffic when signficant snow forces you to run more in the road.

Winter running can be extremely enjoyable. Running on trails will protect you from the wind. And if you really want a challenge, try running on snowshoes as the return on the investment of time is considerable. The degree of enjoyment you experience through winter running is closely tied to your attitude and approach.

Embrace the winter and realize you’ll be better prepared for the Boston Marathon because of the challenges you’ve overcome!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s