Don’t Let Winter Slow You Down
Cold Weather Running. Just the thought of it could scare dedicated runners to the treadmill or worse, the couch. For new runners without experience, a chill in the air could mean giving up on a new training program altogether. Hopefully San Diego will remain warm and sunny as always but even on the warmest of days, early morning and late evening runners can suffer from the temperature drop. Here are some ways to help avoid the winter blues.
It is common to believe that layering up is the best way to keep warm and in certain situations, it can be. This is not necessarily true for running, however. Wearing thermal underwear, pants, extra socks, Under Armour, multiple shirts, and a jacket will only leave you hot, sweaty, and miserable by the end of your first mile.
The trick is wearing the right kinds of fabrics and only layering if necessary! Lucky for recent generations, fabrics such as polypropylene, capilene, and certain wools are available. They wick moisture away from our bodies to help keep us warm and dry whereas cotton has no wicking properties and instead leaves us cold and wet.
Unless the temperature falls below 40 degrees, one layer should be sufficient (think running shorts or tights and one wicking top layer). Running gloves and a hat or headband are recommended, but entirely optional as you will lose your body heat through exposed areas. If you expect inclement weather, wear a light raincoat or windbreaker.
Stay Close to Home!
Rather than heading out for an unplanned, unfamiliar long-distance route, try to keep within a mile of home. Short loops are recommended in the chance that the weather does become unbearable. This way, you can get yourself safely home quickly and avoid the risk of falling ill. Luckily, we do not have to deal with snow and ice in the southwest but keep in mind that hypothermia is still very much a risk if you get caught running in the rain.
This goes for all running endeavors but to reiterate, you should always carry your cell phone (in a plastic bag or waterproof case to be safe!) and a debit card or some cash in case of emergency. Another smart investment is a Road ID safety band (www.RoadID.com), which displays your name, emergency contact information, and an ID number leading to a website that displays any important medical information. Better safe than sorry, always!
While we may feel the need to hydrate more in the hot summer months, the significance remains imperative all year. Dehydration is a serious issue that can lead to delirium or unconsciousness at its worst and negatively affected performance in the least. There is no need to go overboard if you are running 30 minutes or less each day but remaining hydrated throughout the day is crucial no matter what. For those of you who do average longer, tougher runs, consider a sports drink to maintain your energy levels.
All in all, before going out [on any run], plan ahead! Check the forecast, dress in the appropriate gear, and know your route or at least the general area you will be heading in, in case of emergency. There is nothing worse than getting injured or feeling sick miles away from home when your only vehicle of getting home is your own two feet!
“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” -Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder