Cold Weather Running

by: Julia Kittner

I’ve never been much of a runner, but I’ve always wanted to change that. I recently decided to take the first step (literally) and joined a 5K run clinic. The clinic started in October and ends in December. At first I questioned the timing of this new venture because of the weather. I absolutely hate being cold, let alone spending time in the cold willingly for a prolonged period of time. However, after a couple of chilly runs and some research, I think I have gained a basic understanding on how to properly dress for cold weather running. Even though it really hasn’t been THAT cold out yet, I will share 3 things that I have learned thus far and will continue to share as I gain more insight throughout my experience.  

I will start off by saying that regardless of the temperature outside, you will finish your run drenched in sweat. It’s apparently an inevitable side effect of getting your heart rate up. So with that being said, I present to you rule number 1: dress 10 degrees warmer than it actually is. Yes, it will be cold at first and you will be uncomfortable, but I guarantee that within the first 5 minutes of your run you will feel somewhat normal again. And somewhere along the way you may actually want to take layers off. During my second run with the clinic I thought it was freezing out so I wore mitts. By the end of the run they were hanging out of my pockets attached to the sweater I had to unzip because I was way too warm. Moral of the story: do not dress for the current temperature!

Rule number 2: layer layer layer! Layers are key when running in the cold. So far I have learned that the number 3 seems to be magical when it comes to layering. You want to start with a base layer. This layer primarily helps to retain your body heat. The next layer is the mid layer, which helps to insulate your body and keep you toasty-warm. The third layer is usually a windproof/waterproof shell that helps to protect you from the harsh winds, rain or snow you may encounter during your run. The best thing about investing in good quality pieces is that you can mix-and-match them throughout the year depending on the temperature. Plus, who doesn’t love getting new workout gear? It definitely helps me stay motivated! I bought a new jacket this past weekend and I cannot wait to try it out on tonight’s run.

Rule number 3: your mindset is everything! As cheesy as it may sound, it is true when they say “your body achieves what your mind believes”. I have always had such a negative attitude towards running and never enjoyed it. The thought of running in the cold sounded like an absolute nightmare to me! Not to mention I would constantly tell myself “I suck at running”. However, the moment my attitude changed, running became something I actually looked forward to and enjoyed. It is much more than just a physical challenge. Running has taught me that I am way more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. It has instilled a sense of confidence in me I never thought I had. I learned that running in the cold really isn’t as bad (or as cold) as I had imagined. And it is only just the beginning. Stay tuned!