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Cold Weather Running – Training for Antarctica

By on 02/20/2013 in Running
Coach Brendan cold air, hot pants

To be a year-round runner in Chicago you must be tough tough tough tough tough!

Cold weather running is just something we do in Chicago. For years I’ve been running in the winter and coaching runners in the cold. I’ll use this experience tackle the elements when I run the Antarctica Marathon on March 7. If you’re just beginning to prepare for a race now, maybe some of my preparation ideas can help you.

While running in the cold seems like a chore, physiologically our bodies adapt well to the cold temperature, much better, in fact than when we run in very warm temperatures. The three areas of the body you have to pay attention to are the head, the hands, and the feet. A significant amount of body heat is lost from the head, which affects the whole body. So a good winter cap that is warm but that can breathe is essential. Micro fiber wool socks are great for keeping your feet warm and dry by wicking moisture away. And wool gloves can breathe as well as keep those fingers from freezing.  In really cold weather, mittens are better than gloves for keeping fingers and hands warm and toasty. Layering the rest of your clothes helps you regulate your core temperature.

It is easy to think that you don’t need to hydrate as much when it’s cold out, but that’s actually not true. While low humidity makes it feel as though you are not perspiring as much as during the summer hot months, when it is cold, your body is working very hard and the sweat evaporates more quickly.  Check your base layers at the end of a run to see how much you sweat.  So you need to drink water as if it’s July – 4 to 6 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. And speaking of draining, I’ve been working on my immune system during my training as well, eating extra vegetables and ensuring that I have enough vitamin C. If you are training in the cold weather, you have to pay extra attention to your diet.

If you want more information on “Friend” me on Facebook to get updates – look for “CoachBrendanCournane.” And check back on the Coach Brendan blog for a complete summary of the race.

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