January is almost over, but the cold winter weather shows no sign of abating. So for those brave athletes who feel the need to get outside and train in the fresh air, here are five tips for training safely in cold weather, courtesy of health.com.
A simple rule when layering running gear is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than what the thermometer shows. If it says 25 degrees, dress for 45 degrees. When you start to run, your heart rate will go up, and the increased blood flow through your body will begin to create heat. If you’re bundled up too much, you’ll trap the heat inside, potentially overheat and prematurely end your training session.
Wear Sweat-Wicking Gear
Wearing thick cotton gear while running will keep you warm, but will do nothing to get rid of sweat. Sweat-wicking gear is designed to pull moisture away from the body and dry quickly. The gear keeps sweat from clinging to your body, which is a good thing, because moisture plus wind can make you very cold—and susceptible to illness, especially on long runs.
Warm Up Inside
Starting an outdoor winter training session without properly warming up can lead to a serious injury, especially a muscle pull. But since it can be difficult to warm up in below-freezing temps, do it inside. Take 10-15 minutes to jump rope, perform a dynamic warm-up, run up and down stairs, go through a quick yoga routine or do a bunch of Push-Ups and Sit-Ups to get the blood flowing.
Start Facing the Wind
Odds are you’ll be running into the wind at some point. The easiest way to conquer the elements is to start off facing the wind. It may be hard at first, but on the second half of your run, with the wind at your back, you’ll gain momentum for the home stretch. If you want a high degree of difficulty, finish with the wind blowing in your face.
Protect Your Face
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean the sun and wind can’t damage exposed skin. Use lip balm, wear sunglasses and apply SPF moisturizing lotion to prevent sun and wind from burning up your face. If it’s really bitter out, wear a facemask.