Thanks to Nike’s latest campaign, #ChooseYourWinter, fair-weather athletes are being encouraged to not get intimidated by the season’s elements but rather embrace it. I have jumped on this bandwagon as well this winter and doing my part to motivate those around me to do the same. However, I do think it’s important that people stay safe and take the necessary precautions when training and running outdoors during these frigid months.
1. Stay Seen. Be Visible. With limited daylight during this time of the year, chances are you’ll be running in the dark, therefore it’s important to wear gear that is highly reflective – and the brighter, the better. Don’t be afraid to resemble a Christmas tree. This year, my go-to for winter running attire is Nike’s Flashpack Collection, which includes outerwear, footwear, tights and gloves. The extensive collection provides incredible comfort, visibility and protection from all “Old Man Winter’s” elements.
2. Hydrate. Sure, it’s easy to gulp down water during the hot and humid months, especially when you’re sweating profusely due to the heat, but what about during the winter months? It’s just as important to stay hydrated during this time of the year. Even if you’re not running, other outdoor activities like shovelling snow or skiing requires proper hydration. I have a finicky tummy so I can’t drink too much too soon before a run. If I plan to run first thing in the morning, I start hydrating from the night before. When taking to the streets during the day or evening, I stop liquid consumption approximately 30 minutes prior to heading out. People often tell me they find it difficult to stay hydrated because they genuinely don’t like the taste of water, and neither do I do be honest so I’ve had to come up with some tricks to help me stay on track:
- I turn to zero calorie flavoured beverages. I’m a huge fan of VitaminWater Zero products. Naturally sweetened with stevia, a plant based sweetener, the brand’s Zero lineup has four amazing tasting flavours that I rotate to keep my tastebuds happy; Go-Go (Mixed Berry), Squeezed (Lemonade), XOXOX (Acai-Bluebrry-Pomegranate) and Rise (Orange).
- Keep large bottles of Smartwater close by at all times throughout the day to increase water consumption
- Infuse water with lemon, cucumbers or strawberries for natural flavour
3. Layer Up. The general rule of thumb when running outdoors is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, meaning you should be slightly cool when you first start but then warm shortly into the run but not sweating so much that you catch a chill. The best way to achieve this is by using technical fabrics like DryFit HyperWarm base layers underneath appropriate outerwear to wick sweat away from your skin. Wearing layers allow you to easily control your body temperature by adding or removing clothing as needed. Post run, to avoid a lingering case of the chills change out of your damp clothes immediately and warm up with a coffee or tea.
4. Warm Up Pre Run. Although runners should always do some sort of warm up, I highly suggest you get the blood flowing without breaking a sweat prior to hitting the streets. Pre run, try some dynamic stretching exercises, skipping rope or running up and down your stairs.
Photography by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.com (@amillionminds)
5. Deal With The Wind. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve received about winter running is how to deal with the wind. Gusting winds can make you much colder and your run far less enjoyable. A great way to tackle this is by starting your run into the wind and finish with it at your back, so the breeze doesn’t blast you to much after you break a sweat. To avoid long periods of nagging wind at your face you can alternate running into the wind for 10 minutes and then turning around to run with the wind at your back for five minutes, then repeating. Other helpful tips; wear a balaclava or apply Vaseline (warning, this can get messy) or Kiehl’s All-Sport Non-Freeze Face Protector to your face to shield you from the elements.
What I’m Wearing: Pro HyperWarm Embossed Tights // Pro HyperWarm Infinity Turtleneck // Aeroloft 800 Vest // Air Zoom Structure 18 Courtesy of Nike Canada – All items can be purchased in Canadian Nike retail stores, Sport Chek and Sporting Life locations