Training for Around the Bay? Winter running tips you need to know

There are few obstacles that could stop an avid runner from venturing outside, even if that obstacle is a frozen water bottle in extreme cold. Barry Smith from Running Room shares some winter exercising tips.

Training for March's road race began in January, Running Room manager says

Common sense and proper outfits will come in handy during winter exercise, Running Room area manager Barry Smith said. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

There are few obstacles that could stop an avid runner from venturing outside, even if that obstacle is a frozen water bottle in extreme cold.

That's the tale that Barry Smith, area manager for local sports hub Running Room, has been hearing. As participants begin to train for Hamilton's Around the Bay road race taking place in March, Smith shares some winter exercising tips for runners and workout enthusiasts alike.

Proper outfits and common sense come in handy in colder seasons, said Smith.

“You may not run as intensely as you would. You may have to slow down a bit. You may not run as far,” he told CBC Hamilton.

There are two types of runners in winter — the "Warmer-Uppers" and the "Perpetually Cold," according to Smith.

The former, like Smith himself, gets warmed up fairly quickly once they start moving. The latter tend to take longer.

Regardless of which type of runner you are, Smith said, a simple rule of thumb is to dress for 10 degrees warmer than the current temperature, because that's how you will feel once you start running

“When you walk outside the house, you want to shiver a little bit, then you'll be fine,” he said.

The ideal outfits for outdoor running include:

  • Running pants that are windproof and waterproof, but still breathable.
  • A top that's wind-resistant in the front and moisture-absorbent in the back. Also consider a top with scooped cuffs so they can be pulled over your hands to provide warmth.
  • A runner's jacket that has reflective strips, breathable underarm designs and a balaclava hood.
  • A Perpetually Cold runner should wear all of the above on top of a base layer of thermal underwear.

To solve the frozen water bottle dilemma, runners can keep their water bottles covered, such as under the jacket, to prevent the water from freezing, Smith suggested.

Joining a marathon clinic is another way to stay motivated during winter. The camaraderie will get you through tough conditions such as extreme cold and the long distance.

In addition to running, winter workout enthusiasts can also consider joining a walking group or start cross-country skiing.

“I'm just happy to see people out there and doing something,” he said.


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