It’s Getting Cold Outside: Can I still go for a Run?
If you’re thinking about watching the cold weather pass by whilst you’re sipping warm cocoa instead of running it in, I’ve got some bad news, you’re missing out! As long as the temperature isnt below -20 degrees, you’ll need motivation and the right gear. You’re winter runs might just become your favorite runs.
Those dreaded Winter kilos
There’s something that a lot of people are perhaps a little embarrassed out, that is, those winter kilos that go hidden under the layers of our warm winter gear. Suddenly, summer is around the corner and the hype begins – the long sunny days, tans and bikini bodies everywhere. Instead of joining the masses that flock to the gym, simply get ahead by running during winter. Runs in the colder weather mean our bodies don’t have to be subjected to higher body heat stress which we would experience in the warmer weathers. Which ultimately means, your summer body is ready before everyone else, now that’s a great reward!
Preparation is Key for Winter Running
As the temperature drops you have to ensure you’re kept warm, plan your routes and check the forecast. If you live in a climate where there’s potential for ice to be present on the ground, then don’t leave the house without spikes on your shoes. They are relatively cheap and will help your grip immensely. If there’s snow present beware that it does create a glare, as someone who likes to run on the footpath or roads where there is not a path, ensure that vehicles can see you. Stick to the darker colors and make sure your clothing doesn’t soak up any water. If you already have a pair of waterproof running shoes, then you’ve got no excuse. If you don’t you do not need to go out and buy some, some simple rain covers for your shoes are quite affordable are a good idea especially if you are finding that your socks are wet after a run; I consider them a worthwhile investment. Dress in layers and ensure the top coat is waterproof, you may prefer using a ski type jacket if the temperatures are extremely low.
Since the colder weather means that blood vessels constrict, try to cover as much of your body try using gloves, a beanie, shirts or jackets that cover as much of your neck as possible. Covering the ears with a beanie is a good method to avoid frostbite. Furthermore, the weather is an effective way of increasing your immune system against the cold. If the weather becomes too severe, such as a storm, you can always mix your plans up by using a treadmill if you have access one.
A publication by Harvard University stated that the cold weather stimulated metabolically active brown fat. The body uses extra energy to keep the body warm and converts white fat to brown therefore, increases metabolism. If you’re not sure what that is think of the fat that babies have which regulates temperature. It’s calorie burning fat and it diminishes as we get older, now that’s worth going for a run! Regular running in the cold has shown an increase in speed and efficient use of oxygen.
Keep an eye on the weather and determine when the best time to run is. If you’re running into the wind ensure to plan your route to pass through it first, the last thing you’d want to be is sweaty and run into icy wind. Additionally, you should be careful when it comes to stretching – try to stretch up to the point where you’re not sweaty as it’s better to go outside dry. Alternatively, allow your muscles to warm up themselves with a very slow paced run or jog at the start.
Running in the cold is a lot like entering a pool of water, it’s only cold if you don’t move. If you are still struggling to find your winter motivation, consider joining a running groups or getting a friend to join you. If you’re going to pick the friend option, make sure that they don’t buy any excuse you give them when it comes to the day to meet. You’re less likely to bail on your friend and plus it doesn’t have to boring – try some new trails or parks and reward yourself after your runs with a warm bath and salts.