With the cold and nippy temperatures of our Canadian winters, finding the motivation to brave the cold weather and get up off the couch to run can prove to be challenging. However, offseason training can play a crucial role in performance and helping to maintain the gains you made from the previous season. Large fluctuations in winter temperatures can affect your (or your running partners) performance differently. With this being said, here are a few general tips you can use to power you through the final cold runs of the year and be prepared to face mother nature head on.
1. Stay Warm by Layering your Clothing
Ideally, you want to have multiple layers of clothing rather than one thick layer. This will allow you to stay warm while staying dry and will help to prevent sweat from building up on your body. It can be dangerous when conditions are cold and wet, as your body will have difficulty maintaining heat, which can put you at risk for hypothermia or other cold-related issues.
How to Correctly Layer your Clothes for Winter Runs
For the first layer, wearing a shirt that wicks away sweat will keep moisture from building up on your skin.
For the second layer, an insulating material to keep body heat in, such as wool or fleece will keep you warm as you run.
Lastly, a shell layer that is wind and/or water resistant will shield you from high wind, rain, or snow, and let’s moisture pass outwards so it will not be trapped in. If temperatures are not too cold you can likely get away with a single wicking layer and a shell, but this will vary on your own personal comfort.
2. Invest in Quality Socks, Hats, and Gloves
Gloves/mittens and a hat are essential for keeping your extremities warm and reduce heat loss while on a winter run. A buff to cover your neck and face is a great accessory to keep your face warm, as well as provide an additional safety layer during COVID times. Lastly, socks that wick away moisture and keep your feet warm are key not only for comfort but in maintaining proper foot health. We highly recommend socks containing merino wool or mohair as this material dries from the inside out, meaning it will absorb moisture from your feet, keeping them dry while also keeping them insulated from the cold. Materials like merino wool or mohair also provides warmth and softness to keep your feet warm, while providing extra cushion in all the right areas for your foot. Our favourite winter running sock is the Balega Blister Resist.
3. Dress According to the Running Conditions
It is normal to be “uncomfortably cold” for the first 10 minutes of a run, as your body will generate heat as you begin to warm up. If you start your run at a comfortable temperature, you will likely be too hot once your body produces more heat throughout the run.
4. Check the Temperature Before your Run
Although this sounds obvious, check the temperature and windchill factor to ensure you have enough layers to keep yourself warm. The wind can make the temperature feel much colder, particularly when you are running into the wind (headwind). Be sure to wear a shell and layer appropriately in high winds and aim to start your run going into the wind so you can have a tailwind for the way back (finish fast!!).
5. Be Visible to Others
Ensure that when you are heading out for your run, that you take into consideration the time of the day. Wearing clothing or reflective gear that allows you to be visible to others and can help to keep you safe on your late night runs. Things like vests, reflective bands or lights can make a great addition to help increase safety on your runs. Nathan offers a great line of products that can help keep you safe this running season:
Run with the SoleScience Shoedogs
Looking to join a run group this winter? Come run with the SoleScience Shoedogs! Whether it be training for your first 5k, to training for a marathon, SoleScience offers a wide variety of run clinics and packages to get you training for your fastest (and safest) run yet!
- Science of Running: Analyze your Technique, Prevent Injury, Revolutionize your Training by Chris Napier
- Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program by Bill Pierce, Scott Muir, Ray Moss