There is an old myth that goes around running communities that if you run in the cold, your lungs will freeze. It stems from the numerous stories runners and athletes share regarding the challenge of training in lower temperatures.
For many, the cold air can cause a burning sensation that seems as if it will never subside. If training in the heat poses the threat of stroke and dangerous dehydration, the cold's must be that irritating pain in the lungs. The reality is that is the least of most people's trouble when it comes to winter sports training and even casual jogging.
First-time runners that try and implement exercise into their schedule during the winter months become discouraged by the difficulty and dedication it requires. In this brief guide, we will walk you through the need to know tips for successfully jogging in the cold.
Dressing for runs and jogging is a catch 22, and it is, even more, the case when you are going for an arduous jog in varying terrain in frigid temperatures. On the one hand, the temptation is to dress lightly, taking into account that your body will heat up and you will be able to use that keep you on track as a motivator to get it over with.
While that's a good idea, in theory, the likelihood of contracting a cold or virus is raised and can impact your overall fitness in the long term if it's a consistent habit.
On the other hand, if you dress too heavily, it can have a few problems:
The best approach is to go for a solid middle ground. You want to be warm enough to withstand the cold but lean enough to run without feeling overstuffed. Depending on the environment, quality running shoes, one pair of thick warm athletic socks, a moisture resistant undershirt, a light athletic windbreaker, sweatpants with leggings, and a sweatshirt will be enough to keep you warm.
Another common misconception that goes around in the jogger and running community is that staying hydrated is more paramount when it is hot outside. This isn’t the case. Hydration is just as essential when it is cold outside as when it is warm.
Many joggers forget how much water they are expending even on short jogs.Between the extra work of heating your body during a run and the run itself, it’s even easier to become dehydrated in the cold because it's much more of an afterthought and the strain is higher.
Keep your water intake scheduled or as intermittent as possible during your run whether during regular water stop intervals or through Camelbak usage.
Running in the cold has its range of challenges that are unique due to the climate. One of the most important things that runners and joggers forget is the importance of gradually building up your outdoor jog schedule regarding intensity and length.
In lower temperatures, this is even more important because of the effects the cold can initially have on the lungs. Many joggers experience a sensation of burning or irritation in their lungs after running a short distance if they aren’t used to it.
It can seem like it won’t pass, but the easiest way to get over this is to start with smaller jogs with low intensity and increase distance and speed over the course of a month.
The cold is not to be trifled with. One of the final side notes to remember is it’s imperative you know your terrain and stay alert. In many cases, even slightly lower temperatures can have an impact on how effective your jog will be.
If you live in an area that has substantive temperature changes from day and night, take into account the likelihood of moisture changes and how that will affect the terrain you are jogging on. One of the most common injuries that occur to runners is simple slips. It can be caused by black ice, wet sidewalk, or moist grass.
Having quality shoes isn’t enough, awareness is the best preventative measure. Proper footwear is essential, running shoes meant for icy conditions will go a long way to keeping your feet warm, your foothold secure, and your body intact.