Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Base Training - What To Wear

Deciding what to wear for your winter running may be the most important part of your training. After the jump, you will find some general rules that will help you decide how much protection you need for your daily run. Make sure you take not of what works for you and what doesn't. Depending on the day, what you wear running this winter may be just as important as what workout you do.
How to tell if you need that extra pair of socks
1) Whatever the temp is, add 20 degrees (F) to it. This will be what you will feel like once you are warmed up.

2) You should be a little cold when you step out there. Most runners will warm up in the first mile or 10 minutes. It takes me about 3 miles until I feel good. Know how you react.

3) For every MPH in windspeed, take 1 degree off the outside temperature. This is what you will feel like when you step out the door.

4) The old school convention is to run into the wind first, and have the wind at your back as you head home. I reverse this. Your body is COLDEST when you start, and running with the wind at your back will help you get warm. Running into the wind on the way back will not only add another training element (wind resistance), but will keep you from overheating. DISCLAIMER: This does not apply to long runs or runs over an hour. Here, the conventional wisdom is correct.

5) Accept that your pace is going to be a little slower, especially if there is snow and/or ice on the ground. Running our fastest isn't what winter base is all about anyways. This is another reason to run in minutes versus miles.

How to dress for the weather

Keep in mind I am a 6', 165 lb man. Those bigger may need less, those smaller may need more. Experiment on shorter runs until you know where you are. If a short run, dress warmer. If a long run, try to avoid overheating.

Above 50 degrees - t-shirt and shorts (woo hoo!)
Below 50 degrees - Light weight running jacket or arm warmers (get them at your local bike shop)
Below 40 degrees - Tights, light under shirt, dual layer running jacket
Below 30 degrees - heavier under shirt or long sleeve t, tights, DL running jacket, winter gloves
Below 20 degrees - same as above, but add another undershirt for every ten degrees (figuring for wind chill)
Below 10 degrees - replace one undershirt with a long sleeve thermal shirt. Consider light sweatpants or some jogging pants over your tights
Below 0 degrees - add back that undershirt! Double layered pants (Nike warm up pants work great) are a must, and tights may be as well depending on the wind
Below -10 degrees - join a gym or get a treadmill!

I personally only go down to -10, and that is with no wind. A bad case of frostbite on my feet has decreased my ability to tolerate cold, and there are only so many pairs of socks you can put on!

I hope this information is helpful and gives you more comfortable runs as you dodge snowplows this winter. Have some more pointers or don't agree with me? Let me know and I will post all comments.

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