Be safe and don’t let the momentum fade with spring right around the corner.
Let’s face it: outdoor running is going to be cold, windy, slippery and wet for many weeks to come. Keep your mileage up and stay on track with your spring marathon training schedule with these winter weather training tips from RRCA running coach Danica Lucker, who says, “You can have some beautiful runs in the winter. In Colorado we get a lot of sun so we have picturesque beautiful days and it kind of trumps the hardships of the winter weather.”
1. Don’t over-dress.
“Most people tend to dress for about 30 degrees colder than what it really is outside,” says Lucker. What’s more important than piling on the layers is putting the layers on with strategy in mind. “You want base layers—something that wicks away moisture because without that can get you cold—and then something over it for insulation,” the Colorado-based coach explains. “You still sweat. Just because you cant see yourself sweating doesn’t mean it’s not happening.” And for the final top layer Lucker recommends “a good windbreaker.”
2. Hydrate as if it’s summer.
“Your body is still sweating and is using more energy to keep warm,” explains Lucker. “It’s important drink the same amount of water as you would on a hot day. You can still get dehydrated. You still need to keep taking in fluids.”
3. Wear sunscreen.
“In Colorado we get close to 300 days of sunshine a year,” Lucker says. “It’s not uncommon to have snow packed ground but a clear sunny day. UV rays are still UV rays and you can definitely get sunburnt in the winter.”
4. Make your own fuel cocktail.
“When carrying water or hydration with you, mix it part water part Gatorade and it’s less likely to freeze,” she recommends. “In the 20s or 30s if you do half and half it is less likely to get completely frozen. It’s kind of fun to drink a little slushy. If you bring straight water it will freeze.”
5. Suck it up.
“Around 30 degrees is my breaking point where I am tempted to go indoors but sometimes you have to suck it up,” she says. “I’ve had marathon runs in the middle of winter and I can’t run 20 miles on a treadmill. That sounds worse than being out there and just getting it done on the snow.”
6. Know when to take it indoors.
It’s always important to be mindful of health and injury concerns, but additional concerns come up in harsh weather. “Be careful if you have any lung or asthmatic issues. If you do, you might want to think about going indoors more often,” Lucker warns. “If the footing is bad or if its icy or slushy its safer to go indoors.”
If slush and ice melts into your shoes it can also create issues such as frostbite. “It’s the slushy stuff that I don’t care for because your feet get wet and when your feet get wet you’re not happy,” she says. “Even with wool socks there’s not much to keep your feet warm when they’re wet. If I’m going to get wet and miserable that is what forces me to go indoors.”