The colder months can be a great time to be a runner, but it can be an uncertain and intimidating time if you've just started running and have yet to run outdoors in the winter. But fear not, here are our top three tips to prepare you for your first outdoor 5k or 10k, like the Sunriver Resort Fourth Annual Run For Chocolate!
Yes, we run a lot faster in the cold races than we do in the standard, hot-summer month 5Ks and 10Ks, but there are a few things to learn before heading into the snow.
1. You won't need all the layers. One of the most common winter running outfits to a minimum of 45 degrees is a year-round staple - shorts with short sleeve tech shirt. When it’s less than 45 degrees out many runners prefer shorts or capris for women, plus a long sleeve tech shirt from 45 to 32 degrees. Anything below freezing calls for long thermals, shorts, and jacket with gloves. Don’t bother too much with hats, scarves, balaclavas and the rest if you aren’t used to them already. They can be more of a pain than they’re worth. This year’s Sunriver Resort Fourth Annual Run for Chocolate is anticipating partly cloudy weather in the mid-30s. Simple, comfortable clothing is best. But bring rain gear and sunglasses along in your room or car just in case.
2. That burn in your lungs goes away! First time outdoor runners are often surprised how different of an experience it is from running on a treadmill. It’s also more difficult of a transition in the winter when you’re not sure what to expect. In the colder air at first there can be a burning sensation in your lungs. Don’t worry though; you’ll get through it. Be sure to test those lungs out in shorter runs before you compete in a race like the Run for Chocolate. It just takes a couple of runs outdoors in cooler temperatures for your respiratory system to adapt to the frosty air.
3. Stay hydrated. This sounds like a no-brainer but it’s often neglected. Yes, you obviously need to drink more water in the hotter months when you are sweating up a storm, but don't think that just because it is cold you don't need to hydrate. Ice cold water might be the last thing you want when the temps are low, but just be sure not to skip the water completely. You may even consider filling your water bottles up with room temperature or lukewarm water as it may be more enticing when you’re outdoors and it’s actually easier for your body to process.
Bonus: If there’s snow or ice be sure to invest in a pair of Yaktrax or stud an old pair of running shoes. Stay tuned for an easy tutorial on how to stud your shoes at home!
Other than that, get out there and "Just Do It". You're running times will be faster in the winter than in the summer, and you're going to learn to love it. It might be tough at first, but people will envy your willpower when they see you braving the brutal conditions as they pass in their van with the heater at full blast. Anyone can run in the spring, summer, and fall; it takes a true champion to face mother nature in the dead of winter. Register now for the Sunriver Resort Fourth Annual Run For Chocolate to kick your runs in to high gear!
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