The cold weather has finally blown in and that means careful preparations are necessary for the outside runs if we are to avoid the “dreadmill”. As a rule of thumb, runners should dress for 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer reads. Rule #21 in Runner’s World magazine’s 25 Golden Rules of Running states that you should dress for how you’re going to feel mid-run, not early run when the muscles are still warming up. Right beneath this rule they also have a “Dress for Success” chart that suggests what kind of apparel to wear based on the temperature.
Once you’ve chosen your top and bottoms, you’re not done there. My other necessary go to cold weather accessories are:
1. Buff (neck gaiter – whatever you’d like to call it): A tubular bandana type piece of fabric (Survivors wear it so that makes it cool) is perfect for wearing as a neck gaiter and then using it to cover the nose and mouth if the cold air is too uncomfortable when breathing. On cooler, but not cold days, I use it as a wide headband that can not only keeps the hair off of my face but also covers my ears. I hate cold ears and I despise the feeling of the wind in my ears – I have a strong aversion to that sensation.
2. Beanie hat with ponytail hole: While these hats are so beyond unflattering on my egg head much like a swim cap *shudder*, I love how tidy and together it keeps my hair. Lots of other runners prefer the ear covering headbands, but I prefer the beanie. Road Runner Sports has a lot of options to choose from.
3. Gloves: There are all different kinds of gloves out there, from fancy moisture wicking gloves, to Dollar Tree gloves, to just wearing socks over the hands like mittens. Any which way you choose to do it, protect your hands!
4. Lip balm: Protect your lips! Found a nice little Christmas present idea on There She Goes. Ladies, print out the picture of this organic lip balm bundle and get it up on the refrigerator for all to see. I’m doing it right now myself. Love this!
5. Aquaphor or Vaseline or Body Glide: Protect your cheeks – all of them! Even if it’s just a bit windy (or forget the wind – it can just be downright cold), I think it’s a smart move to put a nice little layer of either one of these on your face (or your hands or anywhere else – like legs and bum) to protect your skin. Nothing says ouch like wind burn… especially when you get it through your pants. Something I just learned this morning on our 5 mile run was that I need to put a layer on the backs of my knees. Between the sweat and the cold and the friction from the knee bending, it caused some chapped skin on the backs and sides of my knees. Not horrible, but not a place I would’ve thought I’d get it…I guess the message is: slather your entire body with a layer of protective slime.
And even though it’s cold, continue to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and be smart about your layers. Cold weather can zap you of your precious energy and leave you feeling wasted after your run. Also take the time to really warm up your muscles. A good 5-10 minute walk or jog is a must to get the blood circulating. Take the time to prepare, you won’t pay for it later.
Am I missing anything? Do you have favorite cold weather running gear? Share it in the comments section below!