10 tips for running in the winter: Midwinterduinloop Egmond-binnen
What a great experience I had at the weekend. I ran the Midwinterduinloop, Egmond-binnen with friends from the Bergse Runner’s Club. It was a cold winter’s day with snow on the ground. It pushed pretty much all the buttons to cold weather running. We had some challenging choices and the following tips may be helpful for you:
- Find a trail run or a competition – There is nothing like a race to get your blood running. It was a great buzz to be running with a large group of people. I could also add a sub-tip here – go with a group of friends. It was really great fun preparing for the event. It was also good as various people had forgotten hats, gloves, scarves so much borrowing and sharing was done. Which brings me in to:
- Layer dress – thin layers are good. There are various theories about how many layers you need for certain temperatures. The best tip – is 2 – 3 THIN layers, start cold and with clothes that you can easily either remove OR open. I was MUCH too warm during the race and so struggled out of my jacket, first shifting my number, then my water bottle and, lastly my telephone for runkeeper!! I don’t recommend it. Protect your hands. My hands get too warm in gloves so a tip is to where a sweatshirt or jacket that you can scrunch your hands up into the sleeves. You can poke them out again when you are warm enough.
- Warm up – this gentle jog of about 1 km was great for getting the blood running. We were also able to test the ground to see how slippery it was. A few leg kicks and hamstrings were warmed up, as well as the fluids flowing round the joints to prevent injury.
- Take you own drink – you will already know that I rarely rely on water stops. This run was 16 something km. I use a sugar-free vitamin & mineral drink (see http://www.feeling-healthy.net). It’s important to stay hydrated and in the winter it does not seem as if you are losing water – you are!
- Protect your lungs – when we set off it was -4.5. Luckily as we arrived the day had started to warm up. On very cold days its wise to use a neck scarf that you can pull up over your mouth to breathe through.
- Watch where you run – and run with small strides so that you can
keep your balance. You can also watch the other runners in front of you (assuming you are not in 1st place!) and run in well trodden paths.
- Deal with the wind – we were fortunate – it was a still day with brilliant sunshine. Never-the-less it would have been fine as we ran most of the race in the woods. So that’s the tip – run in protected areas. If that’s not possible then make sure that you have a hat or ear warming band otherwise your ears will be frozen off. If you have to run against the wind – run backwards and lean back into the wind. It’s very good for your core training as well as being pleasanter than facing the icy wind.
- Deal with the rain/snow/wet – Good socks are essential. You may like to try wearing plastic bags on your feet… a windproof jacket is all you need as you stay warm when running.
- Rush into the shower – I did not hang around after the race – I dashed into the lovely warm shower – and – yes, even in a sport hall it felt like luxury. I did get a call when I was half naked pointing out that there were 6 men waiting for me outside!!
- Recover with a protein shake – My chocolate shake seemed to warm my insides and will enable you to avoid that after race “dip” .
An easy solution is – scrap all this and run in the gym – BORING! There really is nothing better to compare running in the crisp cold, still environment, in the snow with blue blue skies all around. So use the tips and ENJOY your winter running!