How To Keep Running When the Temperatures Drop

Running in some not-really-all-that-cold temperatures a few weeks ago, I had a non-runner ask me what I do for exercise during the winter. Realizing they thought that I simply quit running when it is cold (which it really wasn’t all THAT cold to me), I told them I simply add a layer. Or some tights (maybe). However, I realized that it is not just non-runners who are curious about what to do when the temps drop.

Runners need to know what to do when the snowpocalypse of the century is threatening and the motivation gets low to run. And for all of you in California or Florida who occasionally have to deal with some inclement rainy weather and think this qualifies you for being allowed to complain about the winter- it doesn’t. Wait two days and it will be 65 and sunny again. For the rest of you, here are few tips to get through the months with the emphasis on the BRRRR at the end.

1. Motivation is the key: Whether you are running with a partner or have the Boston Marathon just 15 weeks from today (just took a big gulp didn’t you?) having an actual tangible reason to run will help you get out the door. If Steve or Stephanie is out there in the cold waiting for you, there is no way you will leave them to run solo. And if that big dream goal race is just around the corner, you will realize that even a quick run puts you that much closer to setting a new PR.

2. Be safe: Because you are running with someone, do not assume that those driving and concerned about the slippery and icy conditions are any more likely to see you. Reflective gear, headlamps and flashing lights should be a staple of your wardrobe. And just in case, make sure you are wearing some identification like ROAD ID.

3. Treat your tootsies: Obviously you have to dress your body properly for cold weather but do not forget to pay special attention to your feet as well. Wicking and warm socks to keep your feet dry are important. However, you also need to keep care of the shoes themselves (unless you are blessed with dozens of pairs of running shoes). A product called Stuffitts will absorb wetness better than the old newspaper trick and also help eliminate that shoe odor making your shoes last longer.

4. Traction is important: You also have to make sure you have proper footing in the icy conditions. Easy to install (and remove without damage to your shoes) products like ICESPIKE or similar products will keep you from slipping and sliding and can even be worn when you cross over to bare sidewalks, if you are lucky enough to find any.

5. Slow down: Unless you have clear roads and good footing, do not worry about how fast you are running. With uneven footing, more clothing on than usual and more impediments abound, this is not the time to be setting PRs. This is the time to continue working on your base and simply keep the body moving.

All in all, the running doesn’t have to stop just because running water has. Bundle up and spring will be here soon!

Photo compliments of IceSpike user, Jim Blanchard
About Dane Rauschenberg

Dane Rauschenberg made his mark on the running world as the man who ran 52 marathons in 52 consecutive weekends. As an extreme athlete who has also run a 202-mile relay solo and completed a 350-mile run up the coast of Oregon, he doesn't just know running, he has explored it to the deepest reaches of its mental, physical and emotional boundaries.

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