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Monday, February 10, 2014

Running in Chilly Temps? 5 Tips for Cold Weather Marathon Training

Two snow days in Austin, Texas in less than a week and newfound knowledge of the meaning of ‘Polar Vortex’, it’s no secret that winter is in the air. And it’s a cold one! It also happens to be marathon season. With the Austin Marathon fast-approaching, active Austinites are in the throes of their training regimes preparing for the largest organized run in Central Texas.

While dealing with heat certainly presents difficulties for runners, winter training comes with its own set of challenges Here are some tips on how to successfully train for your run during these frigid (and unpredictable!) winter months. 

Functional gear: Lightweight and breathable running jacket, a long-sleeved shirt, tights, a hat and gloves. Lightweight gloves and a skullcap can be pulled off and stuffed into the pockets of your outer layer. The outer layer should be windproof and have zippers in the armpits for ventilation.

Don’t overdress. The biggest mistake Texans make in cold weather is wearing too much. If you feel comfortable when you step outside and in the first few minutes of a cold weather run, chances are you’re overdressed. You will heat up so much during a run (especially a long one) that if you have worn too much, you will roast.

Take Extra Time To Warm Up: Your body will warm up more slowly in cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Take at least five minutes to walk briskly before you start to run. It may take 10 to 15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo. Take a hot shower to pre-warm your muscles or put your clothes in the dryer on hot for a few minutes then head out for your run.

Hydrate: It is just as important to drink fluids in your winter runs as it is in the summer. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your runs to avoid dehydration. Use warm fluids in your water bottle or tuck it under your jacket.

Post run. Your clothes will likely be wet at the end of your run due to the elements and/or sweat, so you should have dry, warm clothes to change into immediately after finishing. You can certainly wear too much on a long, cold run, but you can’t wear too much after.

Happy trails!



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