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Running In The Cold Not So Bad

Originally published at GeorgetownPatch.com

The New Year comes during an unfortunate season. As many people are making the all-too-common resolution to be active, they are faced with frigid weather and short days, making it difficult to stick to their guns and follow through with their promise to themselves.

But a resolution to be active doesn’t have to include dragging yourself out of bed in the dark of morning or spending hundreds of dollars on gym fees.

Running is the most common, and easiest, form of exercise. It typically requires nothing but a pair of running shoes, and can be accomplished any time and any day of the week. There are running groups to join, which can aid in motivation if you feel yourself slipping, and 5K races galore to pace yourself and accomplish individual goals.

All of this seems pretty glorious on paper, not to mention way simpler when the weather is a crisp 75 and sunny, but running in the winter can be just as good — even better. The same rules apply to running in the winter as in the summer, including remembering to hydrate properly, stretch and wearing the proper clothing.

Cold-weather runners should take a couple of extra minutes to stretch because it takes longer for the body to warm and loosen in colder weather. In addition, wearing the correct amount of layers is important to keeping the body comfortably warm without overdoing it.

Despite popular thought, it is more important to pay attention to the wind chill then the temperature when running in cold weather. It is the wind that causes a faster increase in the rise of body temperature than it simply being cold. It is a good idea to wear items like running tights and “cold gear” shirts that are designed to keep heat in. Hats and gloves are also essential when running in cold weather.

While layering is a good idea because one can always be removed, wearing too many layers does not allow for your body heat to rise and therefore can cause overheating. A good gauge for the correct amount of clothing is if you walk outside and feel slightly chilled. If you are warm, strip down.

There is also a concern over inclement weather so pay attention to the weather forecast. Again, most would assume snow causes problems for runners, but it is more the ice layering the ground than snow. Be adaptable with your route and choose places to run that are more heavily trafficked which guarantees a less-slippery surface.

So don’t let the cold weather scare you away from fulfilling that New Year’s resolution. Start your year off right with a run in the fresh, albeit freezing, air.

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