Running in the cold in Jamaica means we may have to wear a long sleeve running T. Even up in the hills it rarely gets so cold that we have to layer up! We know that’s not the case for many of you who live in northern climates where the winter’s can be cold and snowy. So with help from Reggae Marathoners ‘from away’, here are some tips on how to survive running in the winter:
- Don’t run if it is really too cold. What is too cold? Well when the temperature dips below -30 degrees C and the windchill sinks to -50 degree C, it’s time to move indoors. Yes you can run at those temperatures but the risks to frostbite in fingers, toes and any exposed skin are high. Safety first!
- Wear the right gear. NO Cotton!
- Shoes: the less meshing the better
- Socks: thicker, wicking socks to reduce moisture
- Base layer top and bottom: Poly products are great; Silk and wool blends are also popular. This is a very important layer against the skin to draw moisture away
- Insulation top and bottom: Wind pants/tights and a fleece style top
- Head: balaclava to cover entire hear and most of face plus a toque
- Hands: Fleece mitts to keep your fingers together generating heat.
- Dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer. This sounds counter intuitive but as you run you will build up heat…and sweat. Over dressing will compound this and will become unsafe very quickly
- Warm up before heading out. A warm body will blunt the sudden impact of the cold. Not so much that you are sweating, just enough to get the blood flowing. Squats, walk up and down the stairs a couple of times should do the trick.
- Don’t stop! The gear you’re wearing is designed to work with activity. It’s not designed if you stop running. And at very low temperatures, things can degenerate fast. Plan to finish near home so you can get inside and out of your running gear quickly.
- Run near home. Super cold days are not the time to try an out and back route. Stay close to home and run in loops if you have to.
- Adjust your mileage. Again, it’s not the safest strategy to plan a long run in super low temperatures.
One final tip is what to do about your face. A great suggestion came in from Sue who uses a light coating of Vaseline on her cheeks, around her nose and mouth on days when the temperature drops below -15 degrees C.
For sure your neighbours will think you’re nuts when you go running on those very cold, wintry days but hey…we’re runners!