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7 Cold Weather Running Tips

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By Ambassador Lindsay McClelland

One of the biggest adjustments for me when I moved to Houston from Hawaii was running in the winter. While we only get a couple months of real cold, the adjustment from the hot humid weather we’re used to most of the year to chilly and cold can be tough. I love that the colder weather always seems to hit right when my Chevron Houston Marathon training schedule is peaking. Cold weather speed training and long runs are much more bearable and fun when you aren’t sweating buckets! Even though cold weather running may seem easier, it can still take a toll on your body especially if you aren’t prepared. So here are a few tips and tricks for cold weather running from this Hawaii turned Houstonian runner.

  • Run with a buddy. There’s nothing harder than crawling out of bed at 5 a.m. to go for a run in 30 degree weather. Have a training partner meet you for your workouts as an added accountability measure. Odds are, you’ll both appreciate the support and your run will be more enjoyable!
  • Dress well. The general rule is to dress 20 degrees warmer, but in Houston the humidity can be pretty bone chilling. I like to layer up so I’m not too cold from the start. I can always tie a jacket around my waist if needed! Try to steer clear of cotton during winter runs and opt for dry fit, wicking materials instead. Cotton takes longer to dry and can leave you feeling pretty cold on longs runs.
  • Cover your extremities. Gloves, a hat or ear warmers, and good socks are an easy way to stay warm when the temps drop.
  • Warm up first. Before you head outdoors into the cold, get your blood moving by doing dynamic stretches inside. The shock of the cold will be less extreme, and you’ll get into your rhythm faster.
  • Listen to your body. When it gets extra cold (which luckily doesn’t happen often here in Houston), it may take your body longer to warm up. On these days, listen to your body and consider forgoing speed work as a way to prevent injury.
  • Change quickly! During the summer I always have extra towels and gear in my car because I’m usually drenched. Keep this routine up in the winter so you can warm up faster after your workout. I always try to get out of my base layers first and wrap up in a warm hoodie. Grabbing a cup of hot coffee or tea after my run helps my body temperature rise again, too.
  • Stay hydrated! I feel like I add this tip in every running blog I write, but it’s that important. When you run in the cold, you may feel like hydration isn’t as important, but trust me, come race day you’ll appreciate the practice of hydrating along your run. Not to mention how important hydration is for general health!

Are there any tips that have worked well for you? Feel free to share with me on Twitter at @LindsayLM…remember to use the #HouMarathon hashtag!

About Lindsay McClelland
Lindsay is a PR and social media professional at MMI Agency in downtown Houston. Making her way to Texas by way of Hawaii, she’s found that trading in her flip flops for cowboy boots isn’t so bad!  While she does miss living in paradise, she’s fallen in love with her new city, its great food and friendly fitness community. Lindsay has run nine marathons and more half marathons than she can count, is a yoga teacher and former collegiate swimmer. One of her favorite things about Houston is the supportive running community, from the competitive training groups to fun social runs. Lindsay’s father is also a runner, last year they trained together and even ran the first 10 miles of the Houston Marathon together! When she’s not running, you can find Lindsay at the yoga studio or planning her wedding!
Twitter – @Lindsaylm
Instagram – @lindsaylm