In many parts of the country, we are hitting record cold temps for the month of January. This includes Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. In an attempt to spend more time with family in the evenings, this New Year I am planning to get my runs in the morning. Unfortunately, on January 2nd, the temperature in the morning hit -14 degrees, and the wind chill was well below -30! I decided to wait out the cold and run after work that day, since the temp was going to increase to a warmer 8 degrees (wind chill at -15). During my run that evening, I was inspired to write on cold weather safety.
Here are 5 tips to stay safe during the cold winter months in the Midwest:
1. Add screws to your shoes! Adding 3/8 metal sheet screws to your shoes will give you the extra traction needed to run in treacherous conditions.
2. Wear layers! Be sure to bundle up when it is extra cold. If you are running in sub-0 temperatures, you may want to invest in a mask to protect the skin on your face and an extra pair of gloves to protect your hands. Also, be sure to have proper socks to keep your feet warm. My preference in running in sub-0 temps is to wear at least 3 layers for my upper body, and running pants over tights for my legs.
3. Be seen. Many of us who work the 9-5 grind will have to run in the dark. I suggest if you are running on the roads, be sure to wear reflective gear and sport a headlamp. You want to be sure cars on the road can see you. As a side note, if you are driving a car, do not text and drive- please pay attention for cyclists/runners on the road!
4. Save speed for later. On the coldest winter days/nights, it is best not to attempt strenuous speed workouts, as this could increase the risk of injury. It is best to use the winter months for maintenance miles and to work on strength and flexibility indoors. If you feel like you still need speed, check the weather for the week, and hope you can get a warmer day to complete a speed workout. You can also do very short striders to help with speed- but again, I would not recommend attempting 400 repeats on icy roads in sub-0 temps.
5. Change quickly postrun. After your run, take a warm shower and change clothes as quick as you can. This will help elevate your core temp and make you more comfortable.
Remember, be careful and use discretion. Running in extremely cold temperatures can be done, but be safe!!!