It’s cold, and I’m tired.
How many of us have used this as an excuse to stay inside over the past couple weeks? The low here could drop to 22 degrees tonight, which means I need some extra motivation to make me get out the door to my group run tonight. So I asked my friend Amy Sanders, who moved to Minnesota recently from Gainesville,. Fla., for some tips. In Minneapolis, forecasters are predicting single-digit temperatures this week, with HIGHS in the 20s on some days. Thinking of her heading out the door in that weather, with her YakTrax and balaclava, makes me feel like an idiot for even thinking about skipping.
Here’s a list of ten tips from Amy for coping with the cold:
1) YakTrax can be a life-saver (or at least spare you from breaking a leg) when it is slippery outside. And, they work a bit better than the old-fashioned “screws in the bottom of your shoes” method.
2) A&D ointment does wonders for chapped skin on your face. You can find it in the baby aisle at the store, and I swear by it to keep my lips from peeling all winter long.
3) Base-layer clothes are essential. They don’t have to be expensive, but they do have to be the kind that wick wetness away. Then add a warmth layer and a wind-blocking layer.
4) On really cold days, when a hat alone won’t do, buy a balaclava. They cover your head, neck and ears at once. And, when you get to hot, you can push it down just around your neck like a scarf.
5) I swear by good socks in the winter. If you feet get wet or cold or both, you are done for. Typically I do at least two layers if it is below freezing: one to keep my feet warm and one to keep them dry in case I hit any snow.
6) Good stretching before and after is even more important when it is really cold. I try to get warm before I head outside with some jumping jacks or running in place so my muscles stay loose.
7) You have to keep the hands warm. I have a friend who swears by socks instead of gloves or mittens. She says they keep her warm and she puts on layers so she can take them off in layers if she gets too hot.
8) Waterproof your shoes. Again, running in the winter is all about staying dry to stay warm. Buy a can of the waterproofing spray at your local sporting goods store and apply several coats.
9) If you run with dogs, remember to think about them too. I won’t let my guys out the door when it is below 20 unless they have something to keep them warm (besides their fur). And, the chemicals for snow removal can irritate their paws, so I am careful where I let them run.
10) Some days you just have to call it a day. Either hit the gym or take a rest if it is too cold outside for your personal preference. I call it quits around 15-20 degrees, but I have friends who run until it is zero. It just depends on your body. There is no shame in not running outside because it is too cold for you — just don’t use it as an excuse to be lazy.