5 Tips for racing in the cold
- Stay warm before the race. Do not get out of your car with a lot of extra time to kill, and park as close as possible. You will expend a lot of energy trying to stay warm before you even begin to run, and that’s not a good thing! If you have a few minutes at the start line, stay active. Jog lightly or even walk briskly around in order to keep as warm as possible!
- Stay hydrated before and during the race. A lot of runners don’t feel quite as thirsty when they race in the cold so they tend to stop less for water. When your sweating and running in the hot sun, you can’t forget to drink! Even though you may not feel as thirsty it doesn’t mean you are not dehydrated. So drink as often as you would during a race that wasn’t being done in sub freezing temps.
- Layer up and where tight fitting clothes. It also doesn’t hurt to have an old sweatshirt you wear at the start line, one that you would be willing to let go if you couldn’t find it at the end. Layering will allow you flexibility if you get too hot, although once you start sweating it is hard to remove clothing. I always start with a very fitted dry fit tank top underneath. Layering with tight fitting, dry fit clothes will allow you to stay warmer.
- Keep your extremities the warmest! The problem I have when I run in the cold is that my hands always get cold. Recently they got so cold on a run that they were burning for twenty minutes when I came inside. It was excruciating. I use disposable hand warmers and I layer my gloves, that helps. Another tip is to wear latex gloves as a bottom layer because latex will prevent the sweat from freezing your finger tips. And just like the clothing, you want to start with a tight fitting pair of gloves. Wearing wool socks on your feet can help prevent your feet from freezing. And of course, cover your ears and your head. This will help you retain your core body heat.
- Be realistic and go easy on yourself. Most people do not run their very best times in sub freezing temperatures. The body has to adjust and it definitely expends extra energy. The same way you wouldn’t expect to PR in 98 degree weather, don’t expect that from a race that’s run in 15 degree weather either.
Most importantly, always pay attention to your body and take care of yourself!!!