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Health - Campus & Community

Tips for Winter Running

January 20, 2016

Kevin Gard and Robert Maschi from Drexel's Running Performance and Research Center
Kevin Gard (left) and Robert Maschi from Drexel's Running Performance and Research Center.

Winter, at last, is finally here. The glacial temperatures and icy winds can make your nose run, your eyes tear up and cause you to softly whimper one full octave higher than your normal speaking voice. Luckily, the Drexel Running Performance and Research Center’s Kevin Gard and Robert Maschi have some advice to keep you toasty and on track with your winter running schedule.

What Should I Wear?
Just like in the warmer months, dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. When starting your run, you should feel a little cold. Within the first mile, if dressed appropriately, you will warm up. Dressing in layers is always a good idea. These recommendations will vary somewhat depending upon the wind, if the sun is out or not, etc., but use this as a guide:

    In 30-degree weather

  • Upper Body: Long sleeve, moisture-wicking base layer; long-sleeve shirt or light fleece or vest
  • Lower Body: Shorts or running pants
  • Other: Lighter-weight mittens or gloves, lightweight hat

    In 20-degree weather

  • Upper body: Long-sleeve base layer, thicker fleece or jacket on top (intermediate layer)
  • Lower body: Running tights with or without pants worn over
  • Other: Mittens and hat; warm, moisture-wicking socks (e.g. smartwool)
  • Mittens and a hat; warm, base layer, thicker fleece without running moisturewicking

    In 10-degree weather

  • Upper body: Long-sleeve base layer; intermediate layer; wind-resistant jacket over top
  • Lower body: Running tights under wind-resistant running pants; wind briefs for males
  • Other: Mittens and balaclava; moisture-wicking socks; sunglasses with dark lenses

    In zero-degree weather

  • Run inside!

Additional clothing tips
Wear articles of clothing that have zippers so that you can open them if you become too warm. Mittens that allow your fingers to be exposed if desired are helpful for controlling temperature as well. Remember, being too warm is a problem as you will sweat too much. Also, make sure to change into dry clothes immediately after your run. It won’t take long before wet clothes make you feel very cold.

Avoid ice
Running in snow is probably OK; running on ice isn’t. In the snow, you may try trail-running shoes, which typically have better traction.

Be visible
Make sure drivers can see you. With limited daylight, it is important to wear reflective gear for protection.

Start slow
Extend your warmup so your muscles have a chance to acclimate to the weather.

Drink plenty of water
Even though it’s cold, make sure you hydrate.

Runny-nose tips
Assuming that your runny nose is not allergy or infection related, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent it from running.  Rather, look at it as a badge of honor: It’s your reward for running when few will. To deal with it, tissues are a hassle.  Instead, wear gloves that you can use to quickly wipe your nose.  Some gloves even have designated “snot wipes” built in!  Or, utilize the time honored “wind hanky” — just make sure there is no one around you!

Services discount for faculty and staff
Good news for faculty and staff: Get 10 percent off of any package offered at Parkway Health & Wellness’s Running Performance and Research Center if you schedule your appointment by Feb. 29, 2016. Packages include Fix Your Run ($249 minus 10-percent discount), Eat and Run ($599 minus 10-percent discount) and Personal Best ($749 minus 10-percent discount). Offer valid for first-time clients only. Print and present email at the time of your appointment. Discount may only be applied once per person. Call 215.553.7102 or email ptappts@drexel.edu to make an appointment.

Learn more about Drexel's Parkway Health & Wellness, which houses the Running Performance and Research Center, at drexel.edu/cnhp/practices/three-parkway.