“Disclaimer: I received a pair of the new TurtleGloves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”
COLD WEATHER RUNNING
It’s that time of the year, when the morning air becomes crisp, when the leaves all fall, and winter is at your front door waiting to present your cheeks with a stinging cold kiss. It’s also the time of year that the mornings are darker, motivation tends to run out, and the thought outdoor running just makes you want to just stay inside.
WHAT’S A RUNNER TO DO?
Love it or hate it, cold-weather running requires a little bit of extra prep-work, both mentally and physically.
Let’s talk about your mental game. Everyone has their own methods to psych themselves out for cold weather running. Whether it’s the reward of a hot drink afterward or some sweet indulgence, or maybe thoughts of a nice hot shower, there is no denying that cold weather running takes effort. Now, I could dive deep into mental preparedness, but for the sake of keeping things relatively short, I’m going to keep it simple.
Let’s just cover the basics, in the first step to making sure you’re mentally prepared, is knowing that it’s not just you who procrastinates. Humans tend to be on the lazier side, it’s just in our genetic makeup. Our “lizard brain” likes to conserve energy and makes hard tasks (like running in the cold) that much harder but creating an internal conflict. The lizard brain will make you question your routine (especially in the mornings): Why expend the energy if it’s not necessary? This warm bed is so safe and inviting, why not just wait until later?
Point being, you need to defeat the lizard! If there is a long-drawn-out process involved in your cold-weather running routine, chances are it’s not going to stick. Do yourself a favor and keep things simple to make getting out the door a little easier.
QUICK MOTIVATIONAL TIP: Morning running tends to take a back seat for me in the winter months, but when I have to hit those miles in the early morning, I have found sleeping in my running clothes the night before put things in motion. If I’m in my running clothes when I wake up, that’s one step closer to hitting the street!
Also, think of other innovative (yet simple) ways to get yourself out of bed. Try setting your alarm clock across the room, so when it goes off you HAVE to get up! Maybe you need extra motivation, try telling your spouse (or significant other) about your plans and ask for their assistance to keep you accountable. If you live alone, get your running friends on board and make plans to meet up. Having someone in your ear first thing in the morning can help you get up and get moving!
Along those same lines, making a commitment to others helps you maintain the course. Being held accountable can be a strong influence when you are more concerned about letting others down than yourself. So, make sure you share your goals and your plans to get out and running in the cold.
Like I mentioned earlier, we could go on and on about the mental games, and maybe that’s a future article, but let’s move on and get to the physical aspect of cold weather running, more specifically: gear.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
Running in cold weather calls for mental grit to combat the frost, as well as a demand for physical barriers to protect your body from turning into an ice cube. A good rule of thumb that was passed down to me, was to dress comfortably for the outside weather as if it were 20° warmer.
So, on a 50°F weather day, dress as if you were going outside on a 70°F day. For me, this equates to running shorts, a short-sleeve tech shirt with a light windbreaker, or a long-sleeve tech shirt. Your mileage may vary, but any time it dips below 60°F out, I’m wearing gloves.
It’s also helpful to layer up in light layers. Lightweight layers can be easily shed to help cool you down if you run too hot, it’s a great way to manage and regulate your body temperate.
This seems a little obvious, but a good pair of wool socks are a good choice when hitting the cold outdoors. If not, most athletic running socks that cover your ankles are a good choice. Some running shoe brands have “GTX” models with added waterproofing and extra insulation to combat the wet and cold, but I have always just worn my trusty go to “normal” running shoes. Double up on the socks if that’s your jam, but I’ve always felt a weird relief getting my feet wet in the snow on those long runs.
QUICK TIP: If there is snow and/or ice on the ground, take some time to invest in some sort of traction device you can easily put on over your shoes. Without naming any brands, I have two different pairs of traction devices; one pair has minimal studs that work great in the ice and light snow, the other pair have pretty aggressive spikes to help in deeper snow and icy conditions.
Base layering, I always start off with running shorts, depending on the temperatures (and wind) I might cover up my legs with running tights, again focused on lightweight materials that I can shed if I get too hot. On wicked cold days, I have run in jogging sweatpants before but found I tend to operate on the hotter side of the spectrum and the sweatpants were a little too warm for me.
Next up, running shirt, I always use either a short-sleeve or long-sleeve a tech shirt as a base layer. It all depends on how cold and windy it is outside. If it’s going to be windy on my run, long sleeves are a must. After the base layer shirt, I add on (cold days where I’m looking for extra warmth) an activewear sweater, or (cold windy days where I need a break from the wind) a light windbreaker or light jacket. Again, if you focus on light layering techniques, you can never really “overdress” for the occasion.
Headgear for me is pretty basic, it’s either a hat or beanie. I usually always wear a technical trucker hat year-round. In the colder months, I’d recommend using a moisture-wicking cover-up such as a neck gator. These are designed to help block the elements from your neck and face and are pretty versatile in the sense that they can be worn around your neck, or as headgear, or as a sweatband. I like to combine the neck gator and technical trucker or beanie on cold days to keep my head warm and relatively sweat-free.
Hand coverage is important to me, as I mentioned earlier, any time the temperature drops below 60°F, gloves are a must.
Speaking of gloves now is the perfect time to throw in a little advertisement for my newest most favoritest gloves in town: Turtle Gloves! These bad boys were made for cold outdoor adventures! Made with Polartec Windbloc technology, these gloves pack a punch! Not only are they windproof, but they are water repellant and lightweight designed to keep your hands warm even when wet!
I personally put them to the test the day they arrived, and I took them out for an hour-long run in the wind, rain, and snow. I was shocked by how warm they were, despite being wet, and how awesome they were at blocking out the wind!
The greatest thing about the Turtles Gloves is the convertible nature of the gloves. Hands too warm? Maybe you need to use your hands to find new music, answer a call, or tie a shoe? Just flip them inside out and these mittens transform into finger-free gloves!
If you’d like to try them on for yourself, use discount code: TURTLEGLOVESBR to save 15% off your order! You can find them at www.turtlegloves.com
HOW DO YOU WEATHER THE COLD?
Those are my tips for cold weather running, simply put, wear lots of light layers to help easily regulate your core body temperature. Also, dress for temperatures around 20° warmer than the actual outside temperature. What’s your cold-weather gear look like? Share in the comments below!