Dr. Victoria Sekely - Nov 2020
5 Winter Running Tips to Stay Warm
It’s officially November and the weather just keeps getting colder! A lot of my clients have asked me how to continue running through the winter. It’s scary, I get it. I’m the first one to shy away from cold weather and I almost ALWAYS overdress. I know what you’re thinking: “But you’re Canadian! You love the cold!”. I can assure you I in fact do NOT love the cold. I despise it. But I very rarely find myself on a treadmill running indoors. I genuinely enjoy being outside in nature vs stuck inside on the hamster wheel. I know a lot of you feel the same way, so I’ve come up with 5 tips to keep you running in the cold. Cold weather running is not for everyone, but I assure you if you follow these tips you will be much more comfortable out there. You may even start to love it!
Tip #1) Invest in warm (running-friendly) clothing.
Warm clothing that is made for runners truly makes all the difference when heading out in the winter months. All you really need are a few staple pieces in your wardrobe. The good news is that LOPE has a Heat Seeker collection made specifically for winter running. Here are some of the items that I’ve tested out and highly recommend:
BASE LAYER: The Heat Seeker long sleeve makes for a fantastic base layer. The fabric is very lightweight and allows for heat to stay in without making you feel suffocated. The sleeves rest snug against your wrist to keep the cold from coming in and heat from escaping. It also has reflective strips which help keep you safe if you’re out running in the dark. LOPE’s motto “train with intention” is outfitted on the side to give you motivation and remind you why you’re out there in the first place!
LEGGINGS: The Heat Seeker leggings are made with the same breathable fabric as the long sleeve, so the combination is guaranteed to keep you warm and comfortable. A side pocket is the perfect place for your phone or to keep nutrition/hydration items for longer runs.
RUN JACKET/HOODIE: My favorite piece in this collection. This item was made specifically with colder runs in mind. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the material again. It’s very smooth and is nice and thick without feeling heavy. There are thumb holes on the sleeve to help keep your hands warm. Also has a built-in mask which is perfect for the pandemic but also doubles as a neck/face warmer if the wind gets too intense!
Check out the Heat Seeker collection to take your cold weather running game to the next level!
Tip #2) Make sure you warm-up properly before heading outdoors.
Many of you are thinking: “I barely have time for my run, why would I take even more time for a warm-up?” I’m here to try and change that logic. Not only does a proper warm-up improve muscle activation during your run (decreasing risk of injury), but it will also warm your body temperature up, so that the shock of the cold doesn’t take your breath away. I first make sure I am completely dressed and ready to go in my cold weather running clothes (gloves, hat, etc) and then I move through a 5-10 min warm-up while still in my apartment. I may even start to sweat during this warm-up, so that by the time I head outdoors, I’m craving that cool air. Preventing injuries AND staying warm: sounds pretty good to me! I think it’s worth setting your alarm 5 mins earlier.
And if you don’t know what a proper running warm-up looks like, I’ve linked some ideas from my Instagram page here and here.
Tip #3) Start out little by little.
If you’ve tried running in the cold before and absolutely hated it, I urge you not to give up hope. I truly believe our bodies get used to the cold if we give them time to adapt. If your first run in the cold is your longest run of the week, and maybe even your longest run ever, you are destined to hate it. If you start with short, slow runs without putting the extra pressure of high mileage or sprint sessions into it, you will find that each run will get a little more comfortable. Your body will learn how to keep you warm and allow you to run longer and farther each time. Yes, there will still be bad days, especially if it’s windy/rainy etc, but every run in the cold will make you stronger and more prepared for the next one. Which leads me to…
Tip #4) Preparation is key.
It all comes down to planning and preparation. You can have a good run if you focus on the factors you can control. If you have the flexibility, organize your runs at a time you are most comfortable with: for example, if the temperature dips after 5pm, make sure you hit the road beforehand. If you don’t have that luxury, be sure to check the weather ahead of time and lay out the appropriate clothing. If you see rain or snow in the forecast, prepare suitable gear to manage these conditions. Preparation is key!!!
Tip #5) Have a nice, warm bath waiting for you at home :)
Now is not the time for an ice bath lol. Running a warm epsom salt bath after a cold run is literally the BEST feeling and makes some of the coldest runs worth it. It also ensures you do not stand around in your (potentially sweaty) clothing too long after your run, which is not only gross but also uncomfortable. I use this brand of epsom salt for my bath which also helps with muscle soreness post-run :) (not sponsored).
I hope these tips will help you get out for a run in the cold. Real talk: it’s not going to be easy. But I think you’ll be surprised at how amazing your body is. Your body can adapt to anything if you are consistent and patient. Keep going, one foot in front of the other.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more running tips, tricks, and training plans!