If you live in a climate like me here in the Midwest, it gets cold outside in the winter. Like today, we've got freezing rain, which makes it pretty difficult to run. But aside from today's like today where it's ?? 00:12> outside and you can't run, what can you do to get the most out of the cold outside and not be forced onto the treadmill? I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode Runner's High, I'm gonna give you my top three tips for running outside in the cold.
All three of these tips really come under the umbrella of we're trying to combat the effects that the cold has on our body. So, keep that in mind as we go through them. But in general, that's what you're thinking about; what does the cold do to me, how can I negate that effect. So, my number one tip is going to be take it slower and easier earlier for longer.
Which basically means don't go out hard. Take it nice and easy and spend more time doing that, more time warming up than you would normally. The reason here is that the cold actually makes your muscles lose more heat, which forces them to contract. And then they can't power up, kind of put as much power and speed out as they would normally in more ideal conditions like on a nice spring day.
So, you have to spend more time kind of working them up to get to the point where they're at optimum temperature for, you know, working whatever it is you're doing; long run, speed work, whatever it is you have on the agenda for the day. But you do have to take extra time to be careful with them so that you get the most out of it without injuring yourself.
The kind of opposite side here is if you go out too hard, too fast, because of the extra contracting that your muscles are going to do, you have the possibility of creating injuries and more micro-tears than you would normally limiting your ability to perform on further days and making it harder for you to recover from today to the next day.
My number two tip is going to be keep your core warm. At the end of this video, I'll actually link to another video I did when I was out in Colorado Springs running the incline. When I was out there it was 30 degrees, there was snow on the ground. And I made this video showing you my suggestions on what to wear for various temperatures. So, stick around to the end of this video, then go check that out.
But the big deal about keeping your core warm is that your body has all these vital organs in this nice chest core area. So, our body is focused on keeping those things alive, to keep you alive. When you keep your core warm, then your body can focus on continuing to bring that blood supply through your extremities. Your legs are particularly important when we're running, and they're one of the extremities that will get less blood if you don't keep your core warm. So, that's the key point about keeping your core warm.
Really kind of a sub tip within this one is an oft-repeated phrase among runners, at least my teammates, and that's keep your head and your hands warm. Now, here's my theory about your hands that are, you know, kind of tool to manipulate the world. So, my belief is when your hands get cold, your brain notices that.
Again, this is complete conjecture on my part. I don't have something to back that up. But I'm guessing because we use our hands for everything, they're very, very important to how we live, most of us, you know, we need them. So, when they're cold in the stages of getting colder and potentially being damaged, brain’s like hey, pay attention. So, you'll just be more comfortable mentally if your hands are warm. It won't necessarily affect your performance, so to speak. But if you're more comfortable mentally, then it's something you don't have to focus on.
Keeping your head warm, though, that's especially important because if you’ve forgotten, your brain resides up here. And that is really the engine that's running everything. So, keeping your brain at optimal temperature helps out no matter what the temperature is. If it's cold outside, keeping it warm, if it's warm outside, keeping it cool. Keeping your head and your brain at optimal temperature is very, very important at any time to make sure you're getting maximum running efficiency.
My third and final tip for the day is if you couldn't tell, wear a mask when it's too cold outside. Actually, I have a couple of these. I had this one, which is my lighter one. And then I also have a heavier one, this is more like a traditional kind of ski mask, depending on how cold it is outside. I actually did a whole other video on this, talking about whether the cold air hurts your lungs.
The big takeaway from that video is that the cold air changes how your lungs are going to operate. So, when you're wearing a mask, then you can basically allow moist warm air to stay in your mouth and not affect your lungs. So, paradoxically, wearing a mask which you would think would restrict your breathing actually may make it easier for you to breathe in cold temperatures.
So, those are my three tips for running in the cold. Do you have any tips you'd like to share with me and the other people that watch this video; other runners, that could use your advice? Leave them down in the comments below. Let me and other people know what are your top tips for running in the cold. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.