Wednesday, November 25, 2015

10 Tips to Shut Up and Run in the Cold

I don’t know why this happens.

Every year when it gets cold (let’s say below 30 degrees) and it starts to snow (let’s say a few inches) I’m an idiot. I cannot remember what to wear when I run or how to run in the snowy conditions. Yet, this is my sixth year of running through a Colorado winter.

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I hate being cold so much that I think during the warmer months I completely block out the possibility that it will get cold again. Yes, I could use the treadmill, but I don't because if there is one thing I hate more than being cold it’s running inside on Satan’s wheel while staring at a wall. Not gonna do it. (Unless it’s icy, then I will lay on the couch and eat Doritos).

So, I venture out. Like last weekend.

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This run began when it was 15 degrees. How do you dress for that? After spending way more time than I should of on the subject, I decided on warm tights, an Under Armour, hat and gloves. With the sun shining, that was about perfect. I expect to be cold the first mile of a run and then to warm up. I’d rather be cold for a few minutes than too hot for the whole run.

BTW, every single run I do when it’s freezing outside I have to give myself a pep talk about the fact that I will indeed warm up. I do have Raynaud's, which means I have terrible circulation in my feet and they turn yellowish/white when they get cold. It’s really pretty disgusting because feet are not supposed to be a yellowish white color. I also get icicle-ass where my butt turns into a large, fatty ice cube. Ah, the FWPs of winter running.

As we creep into winter, here are some tips to keep motivated despite the plunging temperatures:

1.  Be grateful: Stop your whining and remember that you can run. You get to run. There are many people too sick, disabled or injured to do what you are complaining about. Some people would kill to go just one mile in your frozen shoes. So, adjust your attitude fool!

2. Know that cold is easier than hot: Running in the cold can actually be less taxing on your body than running in the heat. Your body doesn’t have to work as hard to cool down and this can increase performance and energy.

3. Sleep in your clothes: If you are really desperate, sleep in your running tights and base layer. That way you don’t have to go through the extra step of getting undressed and dressed in the morning. You might get up easier, but I’m not promising this will do wonders for your sex life.

4. Get the right gear: Not only should you make sure you’ve got the correct cold weather gear for your climate (see HERE for some guidelines), but treat yourself to a new, fun, sassy running item (thongs might be inadvisable). Maybe this will make getting dressed and hitting the road a bit easier.

5. Have someone waiting on you: I’ve said it before, but there is almost no better motivation than to know someone or a group is waiting for you to show up for a run. Do you really want to be the pussy of the group?

6. Have a warm reward: Know that after your cold run, you will treat yourself to something toasty and warm like a latte, a hot bath or a cup of tea by the fire.

7. Remember the bad-ass effect: Not everyone runs when it’s cold outside. It takes stamina, balls and determination. Tell yourself that every car that passes you is impressed by your fortitude. You may be lying to yourself, but at least it can provide temporary motivation.

8. Know you’ll be less SAD: Research has shown that running in the cold can actually reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Running can release feel good hormones that stave off depression, decrease anxiety and promote a general feeling of contentment.

9. Let your goal stare you in the face: If you are training for something, want to lose weight, or are simply just trying to stay in shape, write your goal down on a sticky note and put it on your alarm clock or bathroom mirror. Sometimes these little powers of suggestion can be the extra push you need.

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10. Sign up: There are all kinds of short races throughout the winter time – Peppermint Schnapps 10Ks and Freeze Your Ass Off 5 Milers. Sign up for one just to keep your head in the game.

Any other tips you’d suggest for running in the cold?

Are you a cold weather runner or do you head inside to the ‘mill?

SUAR

37 comments:

  1. Satan's wheel- perfect description!

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  2. I will take the cold over the heat any day. I'm just a casual runner, and I have yet to make it through a summer without taking a couple of months off. Winters are a breeze. For me, it's all about protecting my ears. I can live with being cold, miserable, and the dreaded icicle ass, but I CANNOT live with cold ears. Nope. Also, chap stick!

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  3. I run outside year round. Since I started running again,though, it hasn't dropped below 0°F where I live, so I'm not sure what I will do if it really gets cold.

    My other tips are: 1) Check out Dress My Run for advice on what to wear depending on conditions. 2) Buy a jacket with pit zips and velcro closures on the sleeves, so you can adjust temperature on the fly. 3) Start off with a hat and gloves, which you can then take off once you've warmed up. I usually run with a headband that covers my ears, but I wear a hat for the first 6-8 minutes. 4) On fresh snow, wear trail shoes with lugs. On compacted snow or ice, Kahtoola Nanospikes are nicer than YakTrax, IMO. 5) If you're doing a long run, plan a looping route that goes past your house (or car), so you can change into dry clothing if needed. And finally, 6) if it's windy, run into the wind on the way out, and with the wind at your back on the way home.

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  4. Yep. This is what I needed to read today. 5-8 inches of fresh snow expected for today. Already in my running clothes.

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  5. Cold is definitely easier than hot and sometimes I seriously crave a run in 30 degrees.

    I want to come visit and run with you in the snow!! :)

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  6. I'd far rather run in the cold than the hot. There are no real limits on the number of layers we can add, but somebody is going to get upset if we subtract too many. I find it's harder to dress for temperatures just around freezing, than for much colder.

    That number 5 is the most important. It's safer to run with a buddy for a bunch of reasons, and you'll be much less likely to weenie out.

    In the right gear department, there are never too many reflective stripes.

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  7. The company that makes those little hand warmer packets also makes insoles you can slip into your shoes. They're pretty awesome for those long runs. And standing on the sidelines of your son's football game...

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  8. The three main things that keep me shut up and running in the cold are Under Armour, Under Armour, and Under Armour. The thought of a warm reward at the end is always nice, too... maybe soup, or hot chocolate, or coffee, or pancakes & bacon, etc...

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  9. I tell myself that if it sucks and I'm too cold after 10 minutes, I will turn around and go home. Surprisingly, I have never turned around and high tailed it home. I wear an old college stocking cap that had a weird piece of elastic around the base. The elastic band keeps my cap firmly in place and doesn't let any cold air in.

    A running partner has Raynauds in his middle fingers so he cut the other fingers off because his hands get too hot. I think he just did it so he could have a creative way to flip people off when they ask to see his strange gloves.

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    1. It's amazing how the body warms up once you get out and get moving. I did a turkey trot fun run in Molalla this morning, and I actually loved the 24 degree weather and bright sunshine -- the view of Mt. Hood and the Cascade foothills was incredible. A base layer of UA "Infrared" top and bottom (including cap & gloves) keeps me plenty warm. It felt warmer this morning than Tuesday afternoon's run in the 38 degree damp.

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    2. Nerorunner - I had to read your post twice - I couldn't understand why the guy would cut his fingers off! Isn't that a bit of an over-reaction?

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    3. Oh, I meant he cuts off all the fingers of his gloves except the ones that has the circulation problem (which is his middle finger). So sorry for the confusion!

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  10. Layer Up. Stay away from Cotton. Expect to run a slower pace. Mittens with finger flaps are great, quick way to cool off if you get warm....if your shoes are tight, get thicker socks for warmth and go up 1/2 a shoe size.....and you can't take off what you did'nt put on. I run year round too, treadmills SUCK!

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  11. Ski socks! They keep your feet and calves (where you loose lots of body heat) warm.
    Shorter runs.
    Cool down indoors.

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  12. Great suggestions, Beth. And just what I needed to read today. Our winter was brutal last year so I find the prospect of the next one depressing to say the least. Will do my best to follow your advice, adjust my attitude and SUAR!

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  13. Hello! I've just stumbled across your blog! Great tips!! I have raynaud's too but my hands are worse than my feet!! I shouldn't complain though - I've never had to run in snow; but I do have to rug up & wear gloves & a beanie in winter!!

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  14. Oh My Stomach Work Out! ... I giggled from the start and laughed out loud when you shared your "motivational sticky" You crack me up and bring the reality - love it! I'm going to bundle up here shortly and get'er done. Have a great weekend =]

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  15. So here in Connecticut, it was 60 degrees and sunny at 10:30 am. What a pleasant time to run. I assume this will be the last day of the year with weather like this, so it was hill training, and a JOY!
    That's just my preface to say that I've become a cold weather wimp as I've gotten older. I actually like the TM, especially at my gym. They have a cardio cinema - like being at a theater while on the TM. Theyve been showing season 1 of Empire. Totally hooked.
    Oh, and who is this Dr. Frank Ojo - spell caster guy? Should I call him?

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  16. The only tip I have is that duct tape is reasonably good for keeping slush/wind/ice water out of the tops of your sneakers if you are too cheap to buy the waterproof kinds (they cost, like, $160 and duct tape is about $2 a roll).

    Also, I volunteer as example of someone who would love to be able to run even a few steps in the cold right now. Go run one for me, because it's going to be at least 6 more weeks before I can think about walking, much less running.

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  17. Definitely agree that running with a group is great motivation. If it wasn't for my run camp there would be many Saturday morning long runs that I didn't do. Breakfast with my running friends after a long cold run is my favorite reward, aside from earning medals, medals are the best.

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  18. Definitely agree that running with a group is great motivation. If it wasn't for my run camp there would be many Saturday morning long runs that I didn't do. Breakfast with my running friends after a long cold run is my favorite reward, aside from earning medals, medals are the best.

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  19. My raynaud advice is to give up gluten, seriously my fingers were the noticeable effect of going gluten free. And of course do not stay in wet, sweaty clothes very long when you get back in from a run.

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  20. My raynaud advice is to give up gluten, seriously my fingers were the noticeable effect of going gluten free. And of course do not stay in wet, sweaty clothes very long when you get back in from a run.

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  21. I am in Canada and I run in the snow for what sometimes seems like the majority of the year. Those waterproof Runners can help in slushy weather, but when it is really cold the snow doesn't really make your feet wet. I am motivated most by running with company and also the "bad-ass-ness" of it all. The look on someone's face when you tell them you pounded out a half marathon on Sunday in -20c (about 8 below F) is priceless. Stubbornness and those thin wool layers help a lot also.

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  22. I like to start off warm so I layer a light jacket I can tie around my waist later. I only wear tights if there is wind.

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  23. This was helpful, thanks! I'm moving to Boulder from California & I've been thinking about how I'm going to run in the cold & what gear I need. Do you recommend yaktraks?

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    1. TBH, I don't. I've run in Yaktraks a lot and I find that running in a solid trail shoe works better for me. The yaktraks are cumbersome and don't do well on bare spots. They don't help if it's icy so to run on just normal snow has been fine for me in trail shoes.

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  24. This entire post had me smiling. I'm such a cold wimp, despite growing up in upstate New York and now living in New Hampshire and loving snow and whatnot. Then every spring when I realize the fitness lost over the winter, I tell myself NEVER AGAIN! I'LL MAKE MYSELF RUN REGULARLY THIS NEXT WINTER. Then our New England winter comes and freezes my ass and I wimp out again and my running gets spotty and blah.

    I am also a tragic victim of icicle-ass. My butt and thighs are solid lumps of ice no matter how I dress or how long I run. I make my husband touch them afterward and he tells me I must only have a three-chambered heart. Rude.

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  25. I enjoy running in the cold. I live in northern Maine, right along the Canadian border, so our climates are similar. I usually have a couple of layers when it's in the 20s, warm compression pants and a headband, and I'm always comfortable. It's been in the single digits with negative numbers with the windchill, so I've had to settle for the dreadmill too. But I usually bring my Kindle Fire and watch a video while running. It does help to distract me from the boredom.

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