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Cold weather can be depressing if you’re stuck inside all the time.
Running can be a great way to get out of the house, boost your mood, increase your energy level, and stay in shape.
However, you need to be more careful to have a safe and enjoyable running experience in cold weather.
Here are some things to consider before hitting the road.
Make Sure You’re Healthy
Frigid air can cause problems for some people with asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and those with chest pain. If you are dealing with a chest cold the frosty air can delay your healing and cause bouts of violent coughing. Running in cold weather is more stressful to your body and this is not a good combination with sickness.
Check the Temperature
If the wind is blowing, it’s not going feel like the temp registering on your thermometer. The temperature plus the wind chill is going to be what your exposed flesh actually experiences. See the following chart (all degrees in Farenheit).
Wind Chill Factorization Table (temps in Fahrenheit)
|5 mph wind=||36||25||13||1||-11||-22|
|10 mph wind=||34||21||9||-4||-16||-28|
|15 mph wind=||32||19||6||-7||-19||-32|
|20 mph wind=||30||17||4||-9||-22||-35|
|25 mph wind=||29||16||3||-11||-24||-37|
|30 mph wind=||28||15||1||-12||-26||-39|
|35 mph wind=||28||14||0||-14||-27||-41|
Source: National Weather Service
Dress for Success
A good general rule is to dress as though it is 20 degrees warmer outside. Start with a thin, sweat wicking layer like polypropylene. Avoid cotton as it will trap the moisture on your body. Use a breathable nylon or Goretex outer layer, and if it’s really cold consider a middle layer of fleece. See my running clothes/gear for more ideas.
Protect your hands, feet, and head. 40% of body heat can be lost this way. Wear a stocking cap with ear protection and consider a mask or scarf to warm the air on extra cold days.
Watch for These Danger Signs:
- Frostnip- ends of fingers, toes, ears, and nose can be chilled, the skin will feel cold and somewhat stiff; get inside and warm the area slowly.
- Frostbite- monitor fingers, toes, ears, and nose for numbness, a pale color, and hard or stiff skin. Get inside and slowly warm the area in a bath of 100 degrees. Do not rub the area. If numbness persists seek medical attention immediately.
- Hypothermia- dangerously decreased body temperature. Signs include increased shivering, decreased coordination, slurred speech, and fatigue. Get out of wet or damp clothes immediately after running and seek medical attention.
Just do it!
Don’t fall off the running wagon just because it’s winter. With planning and preparation you can have some great cold weather experiences.
Running will help the winter to pass more quickly than if you stay cooped up inside. You’ll also feel so much more hardcore for venturing out on those day when everyone else stays inside. Motorists will definitely comment, “that guy/girl must be crazy.”
Also Mentioned in This Episode
Angie’s New Running Watch
The Garmin Forerunner 110 is a minimalistic running watch with GPS and optional HRM. It doesn’t give you an in depth analysis of your performance like lap splits, but does provide easy to use features.
The GPS locates a satellite quickly and it gives you a clear readout of distance, pace, heart rate, and duration. Great for the distance runner who doesn’t want to fuss with their watch. Click the link below to see what the watch looks like.