Winter is here and it complicates running a bit, mostly related to clothing selection. In the spring, summer and early fall, wardrobe is a no brainer: shorts and a t-shirt or singlet top. Not much to think about. But, alas, winter mornings bring new challenges. It starts out around the 20 degree mark, but as the sun comes out, it can warm up quite a bit. So, what to do?
When deciding what to wear, I start by looking at the hourly forecast for my area. Then I estimate the average temperature I will be running in, taking into consideration sun and wind forecasts. Runners world has a “What to wear” page that I go to next. I plug in the temp, sun and wind projections and magically I am given clothing recommendations!
Evening runs can be a little trickier because it gets colder as you are running. You can’t add layers, so you need to make sure you have dressed warmly enough. It is no fun to run when you are shivering! Again, I estimate the average temperature and consult Runners World.
On the plus side, my performance tends to be better on a cold winter day than on the hot summer days. It is hard to escape heat. At least in the winter, you can dress in layers to ensure you will be comfortable throughout your run. But, it can be quite miserable during the first few minutes until your body warms up. During a group run, talking to someone can help distract you so you don’t notice so much! When running alone and enduring wind gusts and cold temperatures, you have to remind yourself of how good you will feel once you warm up!
Newcomers to the winter running scene tend to overdress. Then they end up with clothing tied around their waist by the end, and they are still overly hot and sweaty. One rule I live by is that I should feel relatively cold for the first ten minutes or so. Then my body should start feeling warmer. Hopefully by the end I am comfortable, not hot.
Winter running can be fun and rewarding. It is a great feeling to know my run is completed as I am braving the cold running errands the rest of the day. During evening runs, I look forward to a hot shower and a hot meal when I am finished.
As always, completing runs in less than desirable conditions always feels rewarding after it is done! Throughout our workouts, we need to remind ourselves of that often!
Good luck and bundle up, but not too much!