Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting out in the cold

It's starting to get cold out there. At our house we have three runners and two three kids under 5. So treadmill time is a premium. Also with the cold weather come fewer daylight running hours. It's dark when I get up, it's dark when I get home.

Considering last year I ran outside all year long, it's really tempting to let the cold weather and scheduling differences keep me from getting out there. But I've gone out for some runs anyway. Mostly now I'm doing my weekday runs over lunch at work, and the weekend runs during the day.

I read once that you should try to get out during inclement weather because it prepares you mentally for the future. I like that, a little cold weather won't kill me, and if I get a little exposure to sub-optimal weather, when I get great weather I'll be super happy, and when I get less desirable weather...meh :)

Honestly, if it's much above 30 it's a no brainier for me the cool weather means that I'm not sweating as much and as a result the run is pretty nice. I did have to convince myself to go out when it's colder. I did some reading, and the general consensus I ran into was, why not. It's not going to kill you.

So I went out for a cooler run the other day
At the start
At the end - it started warming up :)
Honestly except for about a half mile stretch I was fine. It wasn't uncomfortable at all. The half mile stretch was along a four lane road with no wind protection. And I swear, my nose got so cold that I had to stop and warm it up with my breath.

The wind was coming from the south, this loop is about three miles

The Getup

The gear
Here's my thinking
  • Hat to keep my head and ears warm
  • Gloves to keep my fingers warm
  • Tech tee as the bottom top layer - to keep my dry when I started sweating
  • Long sleeve T (cotton) on the top layer to provide some wind protection
  • Thermal tights - to keep me dry when sweating
  • Wind pants - more wind protection
Put a wicking layer of clothing next to your skin. It will help pull your sweat away from you (and you will be sweating) so it doesn't have time to get super cold.

On your torso, which isn't getting a huge amount of work, put a wind-breaking layer on top of your base. That will keep the wind from chilling you to the bone.

Same deal on the bottom, without the wind I would have gone without the wind-pants because your legs are doing all of the work, and can keep themselves pretty warm.

Hat and gloves are, in my opinion, a neccessity. Your hands and head aren't super great at keeping themselves warm, and the last thing you want is frozen fingers.

Choose a route that has decent wind protection. Usually I'd do that run with basically an out and back on the big road, but I know it's like a little prairie out there, so I tried to avoid it. It was basically an experiment, and now I know, avoid direct wind if you can.

There are a couple of things I would have changed.
  • Tuck in one of my shirts. When the wind would pick up I would get some super cold shots of air up my shirt. Not super awesome.
  • Wear my watch on the outside of my shirt. Wearing it against my skin left me with some undesirable exposed skin. It wasn't terrible, but easy to prevent.
  • Try harder to stay out of the wind. The coldest parts of the run were running directly into the wind, or letting it blow across me for a sustained period of time.
  • If it gets much colder than that, I'm going to invest in something to put on my face. The nose thing wasn't super terrible, but it was bad enough to make me stop for a few seconds.

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