1. Layer Up:
Start with a thin synthetic base layer, like a moisture-wicking shirt, to absorb sweat. Avoid cotton clothing as it retains moisture and can make you feel damp.
For your outer layer, choose a breathable nylon jacket, preferably one with UV protection, which can be easily rolled up on your wrists if you get too warm. This type of jacket can shield you from wind and rain while allowing heat and moisture to escape.
If the weather is extremely cold, consider adding an insulating layer like fleece for extra warmth.
2. Protect Your Hands and Feet:
More than 30% of body heat is lost through your hands and feet. In milder weather, wearing running gloves that wick moisture is a good idea. Fingerless gloves can help keep your fingers warm while maintaining dexterity.
You can also place disposable hand warmers inside your gloves for added warmth. Insert moisture-wicking insoles under fleece or wool socks, making sure your running shoes can accommodate thicker socks.
A simple and effective option is to wear thin liner gloves, which can be discarded if needed and are great for protecting your hands during strength exercises.
3. Be Mindful of Temperature and Wind:
Strong winds can strip away body heat by penetrating your clothing, and your movement can increase the circulation of cold air close to your body. If the temperature drops below freezing or the wind chill factor reaches below -20°F (-29°C), it might be best to skip your run.
4. Avoid Overdressing:
You'll warm up quickly during your run, so you might initially feel a bit chilly. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if the temperature were 20 degrees warmer than it actually is.
5. Don't Forget Head Protection:
Approximately 40% of body heat escapes through the head. Wearing a hat can effectively reduce heat loss from your head, allowing your circulatory system to distribute more heat throughout your body.
In very cold conditions, consider wearing a face mask or scarf to protect your mouth and face. Multifunctional headwear, like a buff, is a versatile and affordable option with various ways to wear it.
6. Avoid Prolonged Wet Clothing:
If your clothing gets wet from rain, snow, or sweat, your risk of hypothermia significantly increases in cold weather. If you feel damp, change into dry clothes as soon as possible in a warm area.
If you experience symptoms of hypothermia, such as severe shivering, loss of coordination, slurred speech, fatigue, seek emergency treatment immediately.
7. Stay Visible:
Ideally, avoid running at night, but if you must, wear light-colored clothing and reflective gear. In snowy conditions, bright-colored attire is also advisable.
8. Windy Days Call for Buffs and Gloves:
Running on windy days can be challenging, especially when you're sweaty after your workout. Windproof buffs and gloves are essential for staying warm and protected.
9. Watch for Frostbite:
In extremely cold weather, pay attention to your fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may become numb initially but should warm up as you run for a few minutes.
If you notice hard, pale, cold patches on your skin, you may have frostbite. Immediately return to a warm indoor area, slowly warm the affected areas, and seek medical attention if numbness persists.
10. Discuss with Your Doctor:
Cold air can trigger chest discomfort or exacerbate asthma symptoms. If you have concerns about these issues, consult your doctor before engaging in outdoor winter exercise.
11. Wear Sunscreen:
Even in winter, you can get sunburned because snow reflects sunlight. Don't forget to apply lip balm with sunscreen.
12. Ensure Safety:
Before heading out for your run, ensure you have essential gear like water, band-aids, a reflective vest, a flashlight, and even Croc Lights, which can enhance your safety during outdoor workouts.
In the face of the cold, remember to layer up and get out there for your run!