Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baby, it's cold outside!

Living in Upstate NY, I'm used to cold temperatures.  We typically experience a week or two in the winter of temperatures that drop below zero, and the rest of our winter hovers between 5 and 30 degrees.   When I left the house this morning, it was 4 degrees, but it felt like -10 with the windchill.  Even for those of us accustomed to cold, this weather is just awful.  It's definitely not good running weather!

Since I live in a place that experiences months of cold weather each year, I am used to running in the cold.  I will run outside as long as it's warmer than 5 degrees and the windchill doesn't make it feel colder.  I will run in rain and snow, and I'm even comfortable with ice.  Sometimes I actually think that it's easier to run in cold temperatures than extremely hot and humid weather.  Seriously Florida runners, how do you do it?  Still, even though I am comfortable running in extremely cold temperatures, it's not without a lot of preparation. 

Winter running is a beast, and it takes a lot of extra work to make sure that you stay healthy and safe in such frigid temperatures. 

The day I ran this 5K, it was 12 degrees out, and I wasn't really properly dressed.  But, I was obviously more prepared than the guy behind me!

I always wear high quality cold weather running gear:  running tights, thermal running shirts, fleece jackets, and windblocking jackets.  Layering is key.  You never know how much you will warm up once you are running, and you want to be able to remove layers if you get too hot.

I make sure my hands and ears are well protected.  Good, warm running hats and gloves are a must.  There's nothing worse than the stinging pain of freezing hands.

When it's snowy and icy, I wear Yak Trax.  These are special coils that stretch over the bottom of your running shoes the keep you from slipping on snow and ice.  They're like snow chains for your shoes (for those of you not familiar with snowy climates, snow chains are put on tires in the winter to keep cars from sliding on the road)

I make sure people know where I'm running, and I always wear my Road ID when running alone (good advice for any time of the year).

If there is a lot of wind and low temperatures, I wear one of these.  It covers my entire head and neck and keeps me nice and warm.  I don't use this in "milder" winter temperatures because I get too hot.

Finally, I always look at the weather before I go running.  If it's too cold or windy out, I take my run inside.  I either use the indoor track at work, or the treadmill at the YMCA.  With temperatures below 10 degrees and a windchill that made it feel even colder, can you guess where I went tonight?


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