New environment, new rules. I moved back to The Netherlands just a few days ago and since I’ve been back, I haven’t yet seen the sun shining. It’s fall and that means a lot of grey. A lot of rain and wind and it’s already pretty cold out. I will however want to continue my outdoor runs. Working out outdoors has it’s clear benefits. See about this my previous post janshealthdepartment.com/2015/09/14/why-exercising-outdoors-is-the-best/.To get through the cold season fit and safe, here’s some tips for running outdoors when it’s cold and there’s more rain than shine.
1) Get motivated
The hardest part of running in the rain or cold is to get out of the door and to just get started. Tell yourself that you can get back inside after 5 minutes if it’s really bad. Once you start running, it’s easier. It might help to make a date with someone to run or join a local running club or group. You can’t back out when someone is waiting for you. Once you begin and you’ve warmed up, you’ll notice that you’re actually enjoying the run. To stay motivated and avoid getting bored it also helps to vary your route. Even running the same route in the opposite direction will add variety to your run. You’ll also get motivated by having a realistic goal to work towards.
2) Wear layers
When it’s cold and rainy, it’s advisable to dress sensibly by wearing layers. The most important layer is the one closest to your body. Make sure it’s a technical fabric (such as polypropylene or CoolMax) which wicks water and sweat away from your skin. Don’t run in cotton or another non-wickering material when it’s cold. The next layer will depend in the weather. It could be a lightweight fleece or a wind- and water-resistant jacket when it’s windy and/or rainy. If it gets too warm, you can tie it around your waist to cool off. Don’t wear a waterproof rain jacket because it will trap moisture and heat. In cold weather, a hat and gloves are a good idea to stop you from losing heat from your head and hands. If you have cold feet, find some merino wool socks. They will keep your feet warm, even when wet.
3) Don’t overdress
Overdressing is a mistake that many runners make when going out for a rainy run. Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. If you have tons of layers on, you will just be wearing more wet, heavy clothes. Dressing too heavy will also make running much harder. Dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day.
4) Wear a hat with a brim
When running in the rain a hat with a brim can keep the rain out of your face and helps block the wind allowing you to see, even when it’s pouring rain.
5) Be visible
Select outer layers that are very bright or light-coloured (white or fluorescent yellow) and have reflective strips, to increase your visibility and safety while running in the rain or in limited daylight.
6) Prevent chafing
On longer runs, prevent chafing by spreading Vaseline or another non-chafe product on places likely to cause friction; your feet, inner thighs, underarms or sport bra lines.
7) Warm up & cool down
A good warm-up is essential to avoid injury, but it’s even more important in winter when it can take longer for your body to warm up. Warm up by moving around inside enough to get your blood flowing without starting to sweat. Run up and down the stairs, do a few yoga sun salutations or use a jump rope. Outside, start your run gentle and gradually increase your pace until after around 10 minutes, you get to the pace you’re going to maintain for most of the run. To cool down, continue running at an easier pace or fast walk for 5 to 10 minutes. This will help your body recover after your run. Don’t stop though and do your stretches indoors to avoid getting too cold.
8) Be careful
While running in the cold, dark or rain, be extra careful and watch your footing. Roads get slick when it’s wet and puddles might hide holes.
9) Change your clothes quickly post-run
Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running. Change your clothes as soon as you can. Put a dry hat on wet hair and drink something hot.
10) Dry out your shoes
When you get back from a wet run, take off your running shoes and stuff them with crumpled balls of newspaper. This helps the shoes keep their shape, and the paper draws moisture away from the shoes. Don’t put them in the dryer or in front of a heater as this can shrink them or change their shape so they won’t fit you properly anymore.
Running in the wet or cold can reduce your thirst, and wearing several layers of clothing can increase your perspiration. So even if you don’t feel sweaty or thirsty, dehydration is still a risk .
12) Reward yourself!
Running on a cold, windy or rainy day is not really fun. So after you get back from a run in these circumstances, be proud of yourself for pushing through. Enjoy your moment in a nice warm environment with a hot coffee, tea or choco. Well done!
Image courtesy of Kasia@Flickr