It's cold outside. Like, really cold. Like, Mother-Nature-needs-to-get-her-crap-together-before-I-move-to-Florida cold. Here are some tips to deal with the frigid temps and winter running.
*Note: we don't advise ANYONE go running in temps like we have today! With highs in the negative single digits and wind chills -20 or below, it's not really safe for anyone to be outside for any extended period of time, so please use caution!
How to dress
It's advisable to dress as though it'll be 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. Now, cold is cold. But that doesn't necessarily mean you need to don a parka and three pairs of long underwear. If it's 20 degrees, dress like you would if it were 40. If it's 10, dress like it's 30. You may feel a little cold at first, but your body will warm up once your blood gets pumping!
Cotton is rotten!
Many people think that moisture-wicking fabrics are ideal for warm temps. Not exactly true. In fact, cotton is great for those hot summer days, and moisture-wicking fabrics are great for this time of year! Cotton absorbs the moisture (you will still sweat when it's cold) and will cool your body much quicker, making you feel a ton colder than you already are. Moisture-wicking fabrics will help keep the sweat, spit and snot away from your body much better than cotton.
When to go out vs. when to stay in
When temps are dangerously low (like today), it's probably best to stay in. But we're not your mom, so we can't tell you what to do. Just be smart and make good decisions. Additionally, if there's snow and ice potentially on your route, you may want to consider hopping on a treadmill. Why risk slipping and falling and breaking a kneecap just to avoid the treadmill? I'd rather log a run of any distance on a treadmill than fall on ice.
Head to the trails!
While it may sound odd, heading to an area dirt trail can be a great idea to rebel and flip Mother Nature the bird. If there's some snow and ice on the roads and sidewalks, go hit one of Nebraska's awesome trails where you don't have to worry about the ice as much. You're far less likely to hit that patch of ice on a dirt trail than you are Mr. Johnson's sidewalk that hasn't been shoveled in two weeks. There are some AWESOME trails around the area - Cunningham Lake, Schramm Park State Recreation Area, Calvin Crest in Fremont and many more - that you can hit to avoid the ice. Plus, this time of year, these trail systems can be really, really, ridiculously pretty!
Ever put screws on the bottom of your shoes? It sounds crazy, but it works insanely well. I've done it before, and it helps cut through the garbage that Mother Nature drops from the sky to provide better traction this time of year. I followed the tips found here (http://skyrunner.com/screwshoe.htm) and used 3/8" sheet metal screws. It really doesn't ruin your shoes like you may think, but I'm sure that it can potentially shorten the life of your shoe. But, I'm not a shoe doctor, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Like, literally take anything I say with a grain of salt because I may be at least half-full of crap. Anyway...check to make sure the sheet metal screws you're selecting aren't too long for your shoes! There's no sense in trying to gain traction while making the bottom of your feet look like Swiss cheese. And, my personal recommendation would be to use an older pair of shoes so you're not ruining the brand new ones your beautiful wife got you for Christmas. She might get a little upset with that. We at run nebraska don't want that.
So those are just a few tips for cold and winter running. Please feel free to share any tips or ideas that you may have to help your fellow runners stay safe and warm out there!