Winter Running Adjustments

Unless you live in the eternal sadness called Southern California (I am allowed to say that since I lived there for 19 years), Winter is probably upon you right now. Here in Corvallis, it has warmed up from the freezing temperatures we had last month, but it is still cold and wet. Plus, we are expected to drop back down in to the low 30s/high 20s later this week. Fine by me! Today as I ran the longest I have run since my injury (5.25 miles!), I contemplated the running adjustments I have made since I discovered this really cool (pun intended) thing called “Winter”.

1. Invest in something that repels water. For me, it is my beautiful purple Brooks running jacket. My amazing jacket in all its water resistant glory set me back $80 (normally $100, but I bought it at the expo for the Portland Marathon and everything was on sale) and I can proudly say it is worth every penny.

*Note to self: It only works in torrential rain if you zip it up all the way. Otherwise rain finds a way through the neck hole.

2. Learn how to layer. I have always heard it said that when you set out running, you should dress as if it is 15° warmer than it actually is. However, no sane person is going to set out in 30° weather in a t-shirt in hopes that it will feel like 45°. Instead, I throw on several layers of light, but slightly wind resistant clothing. For me, this usually means a long sleeve sweat-wicking shirt and my Brooks (see above). I never find myself too cold and I always have the option of shedding a layer in case of a freak heat wave (not likely).

3. Ditch the cotton. I am absolutely a runner who wears cotton. As long as I’m not running a marathon, I find that it gives me no problems. However, in the rainy winter, I kick cotton to the curb. You know when your cotton t-shirt gets sweaty and before you know it you body has been sliced and diced by your shirt? It is 100 times worse if your shirt gets rain soaked. Not to mention, it. will. never. dry. No one wants to run in the cold in a soaking wet shirt. Sweat wicking shirts are made for winter.

4. Protect your ‘pod. Apple doesn’t cover water damage in their warranty, not even if you start crying in the middle of the Apple store. How do I know?

I shouldn’t have been shocked when all the sudden my iPod Touch suddenly didn’t respond to my touch…

Here you have two options.

1. Tempt fate. I wouldn’t suggest this option, but should you decide to risk it, know that if you buy your iPod at Best Buy and buy the protection plan, they will replace your iPod in the case of water damage. Or the better option…

2. Buy a cheapo MP3 player for rainy days. You can get an iPod Shuffle for $50. Of course, you don’t want to be destroying them just because they are cheap, but it is much better to kill a $50 device than a $300 one.

5. Master the art of the rock solid ponytail. Maybe this isn’t a problem for you with your beautiful straight hair that does whatever you want it to, but for me, I develop a lion’s mane whenever it starts raining. My secret weapons: mouse and hairspray. I tame my hair in to submission before I even dare set foot in the rain. Don’t be scared of products, it is much better to have stiff hair than wet hair in your face.

Those are my biggest adjustments. What about you? How do you prepare for the rain/snow/cold before you exercise outdoors in the winter? Or do you exercise indoors?

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11 thoughts on “Winter Running Adjustments

  1. Great tips! Luckily I live in a place where it doesn’t get too cold. I mean – don’t get me wrong, it’s cold. But it doesn’t snow or anything. And rarely rains (I live in Tucson – it’s the desert). I like to do layers for cold mornings, too!

  2. Hmm, not sure about “eternal sadness” of SoCal, but I HATE cold in any way shape or form… Actually, I guess I’m working on the opposite move, from Seattle to California instead of from Cali to Oregon 😉

    I’m a wimp and I exercise indoors unless forced to do so outdoors… I used to row, and we’d be up before 5 and there would be frost all over the boats as we were rowing… But now sometimes it’s all I can do to walk to the gym in the rain!

  3. How do I prepare for the rain/snow/cold before I exercise outdoors in the winter? I live in “The Eternal Sadness That is Called Southern California” so I don’t have to worry about rain/snow/cold getting in the way of being outdoors. Ha Ha to you O’ Cold One. Just stay warm and healthy and your father will be happy.

  4. Eternal sadness that is southern california???
    traitor! HAHAHAHA
    Okay, I love all your tips even though I won’t ever need one of them (see how sad I am)

    here are my winter tips
    ahem,
    one: on days that the air drops below 60 degrees; run inside on treadmill.
    two: on days that the air rises above 75 degrees; run inside on treadmill.
    three: on days when it gets dark before you leave work; run inside on treadmill.
    four: on days when it’s absolutely perfect outside, even in December; run inside, you guessed it; on a treadmill.

    because I am totally afraid of being kidnapped by clowns and never seeing my treadmill again, I play it safe and run inside on a treadmill.

    but I am working on it.

    Eternal sadness. SHEEZ.
    what’s sad is I live here and am always inside at my desk freezing my butt off.
    I like your hair idea. My hair is psychotic. always.
    xo

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