Running in cold weather can be tricky. In areas that get extremely cold, running can become extra challenging and perilous. Therefore, you need to understand how to do it effectively in order to remain fit, manage weight, and enjoy higher productivity. Many people who set out often do so with little knowledge about the pending risks.
Here are 5 things you need to know before running in cold weather.
1. It is a different experience
While a lot of information about running focus on summer and sprint time exercises, few talk about how to run in winter. Therefore, you are sure of getting a completely different experience and risks. First, the ground is wet and unstable in many areas. Steps will be unsteady, and you risk falling every step you make. While summer time is really predictable, cold weather is very unreliable. Snow or rain can start falling anytime, block your route, flood it, or even make rivers you did not anticipate. It is critical that you prepare appropriately by only running a short distance from home and noting when such changes start to get back indoors and avoid associated risks.
2. Know how running in cold weather affect you
When temperatures fall so much, your entire body functionalities tend to go down. To perform optimally, a human body requires ambient temperatures to be about 50 degrees F. However when temperatures go below this, the body’s ability to perform is greatly curtailed. At freezing, the body’s ability to perform goes down with about 1%. By the time temperatures get to 10 degrees F, you will only be able to run 10% slower. Here, you need to slow down when it gets very cold because of the following:
- Impulses running via body nerves get weaker in cold weather. One direct impact of this is poor muscles contraction that slows the body down.
- In very cold weather, oxygen use and blood flow are affected. The reduction of blood and oxygen getting to the muscles makes running difficult and painful.
- While the body tends to use reserve fat during hot and warm weathers, it is different when it gets cold. To supply energy, the body turns to carbohydrates which burn anaerobically. The impact of this is the production of lactic acid that can harm the muscles.
3. Keeping your body warm
In cold weather, the body is forced to work harder to keep warm. Therefore, more energy will be diverted, and less will be available for your running. To get extra energy for running, you should help the body to remain warm by wearing the right clothing. Look for tchi8ncal layers of fabric that have zippers along the neck and hands to trap heat and allow enough ventilation. Some good options here include long sleeve vests and tights pants, heavy jackets and wind pants, or 2 pairs of mitten, to remain as warm as possible.
As the body keeps perspiration to the minimum to prevent loss of heat, most wastes are removed through urine. Therefore, you need to remain hydrated by taking a lot of water every hour, about 6 ounces.
4. How to stay safe when running in cold weather
While in summer people look for heat exhaustion, in winter, be on the watch out for hypothermia. This is a condition characterized by loss of coordination and slurred speech. Other people complain of pain in their lungs as cold air reaches and starts freezing the lungs. Though the body works very hard to prevent this problem from happening, the problem can be dangerous if not addressed immediately. Make sure to get a running mask that can help to slightly humidify air getting through the nose.
5. Ensure to be seen when running in cold weather
Because cold weather can often result in snowfall, fog, and even rain, there is a probability you are going to run into the dark. As snow falls on your garment, it will be even more difficult to note you whether you are on the road or a footpath. Make sure to get a reflective garment and carry a spotlight. A head-lamp similar to those worn by people in mining sites will help to light the way and signal others you are on the road.
Running in cold weather is tricky and should be done with a lot of care to get warmed up and remain safe. It is advisable to only run up to the point you are sure of getting back home fast. Follow the outlined five tips to have a successful run during the cold weather.