BY: Stephania Varalli
In this article Kevin Smith, a running coach and founder of Marathon Dynamics, and Bob McGrath, an experienced ultra-runner and product expert at an athletic retail chain, Runing Free; talk about how to start up, survive, and even enjoy running in the cold winters of Canada.
"It's easier to run in minus 20 than plus 30," says Bob. The key is to have to proper clothing and equipment. Start first with the biggest source that contributes to heat loss. Your head, hands, and feet.
The best thing to wear on your head, would be a tuque: something made of wool or synthetic fibre. Most people wear sunglasses when they run because it's too bright but another reason to wear them is that it blocks the wind from hitting your eyes, keeping you warmer and also your eyes wont be watering as much. Your next concern should be hands. There are two types of gloves that are particularly good for running in cold temperatures: windproof or those with greater warmth but with less breatheability. When it comes to your feet, you can either buy thick wool socks or shoes with Gore-Tex technology. As for your body, you should wear a tight-fitting shirt that is close to your skin and that wicks the sweat away from you; keeping you warm and dry. Then get a vest or coat to cover.
If you are ever in doubt, stick to the 10-degree rule: dress as if it were 10 degrees warmer than it actually is. When you are running in cold temperatures, you don't seem to sweat as much but you do get dehydrated if you are not careful. Hydration packs work the best for this situation. Make sure you wear a hydration pack underneath your jacket close to your bodym so the water does not freeze!
The most important rule when running in cold weather is safety. Even if it means staying inside and running on a treadmill. You do not want to get lost in the harsh Canadian winters, so the best technique to prevent being lost is to run in a loop or a place that you are familiar with. Do not run a trail that you have never been on before. You should always have a plan B; for example, if there is freezing rain you would be best to stay inside and do another activity. Just because it is cold outside should not be an excuse to stay inside, you just have to be more cautious when you run and how far and where you run.
I like this article because Kevin Smith and Bob McGrath do a great job of explaining the key points of having fun and being safe while doing something very healthy. I would recommend this article to anyone who is looking to get in shape but doesn't have the boost to actually do it; and to those people who are interested in running marathons.
Stephania Varalli. Getting Cold Over Cold Feet. Adventura Magazine. Pg 14-15. Winter 2011.