In lieu of one of the most atrocious snow storms to hit Chicago, the first time in 12 years Chicago Public Schools closed, and over 5,000 flights cancelled, the storm deemed names like Snowapocalypse or Snowmageddon. I think I can count the number of days this winter it has been over 32 degrees on one hand (not that I’m complaining, just saying). This just calls for preparation before embarking outside. Some ideas and encouragement to get you going (because let’s be honest it is a long time until summer):
- Make sure your skin is covered. Yes this seems like a no-shit-sherlock thing, but all extremities should be covered during the winter months– gloves, hats, and even a scarf should be a must. I like to use fleece scarves instead of other materials because other kinds can irritate skin, especially if hot air from your breath creates a warm environment. Plus, in a situation where say, your nose runs due to the cold weather, fleece scarves are the easiest to wash.
- Wear a Base Layer. Wool products such as products by Smartwool and Patagonia are my favorite kind of base layer because they wick away sweat, helping to regulate your body temperature (unlike cotton or spandex). These pieces can be pricey, but if you live in a colder climate, these will be a go-to essential time and time again, and worth every penny (don’t forget socks too).
- Find a Distraction. Some of my “best” runs have been during extreme climate conditions (intense rain storms, snow flurries, etc.). I have come to realize that this is because of the distraction that the weather can create. This calls for an attitude check– instead of pissing and moaning about the snow or chilly temps, use it as a time to notice the way the snow looks on the trees, find all the straggling christmas lights people haven’t taken down, count all the other crazy runners outside, look for ice patches, etc. My personal favorite distraction is music. I find the most ridiculous pump-up music (old school rap anybody?) in a situation like a cold, overcast day where a run would just be too easy to put off.
- Warm Up. Yes, I said it, the crucial part most people ignore. Walk at a brisk pace for 3-5 minutes. You can do it, it is not that painful. AND you get extra points if you use your arms to walk EVEN faster.
- Stretch. Make sure you take your time and stretch after, preferably inside rather than outside. In any weather condition stretching should be a mandatory part of your workout, but especially in cold weather when your muscles can shorten and become tight very quickly after a run.