Seasonal Running Tips - For Runners Who Brave the Outdoors

Here are some seasonal running tips for those who get outside no matter the weather. I’d love to live in a tropical environment where all I have to worry about is getting up and running before it gets too hot. However, I reside in Wisconsin. This state can experience high temperatures of 100 F in the summer and below zero F in the winter. As I write this, it is spring. This week we had one day in the 70’s and another where the high temperature was just above freezing. There is an old saying in Wisconsin. “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait a while.”

Rain, snow, sun, wind – We get it all. I really don’t enjoy running on a treadmill, so I have to be prepared to run in any conditions. Here are my seasonal running tips.

Winter Running – Running in the cold isn’t so cold after all if you dress yourself correctly. The way to go is thin layers. At 40 degrees F, you need two thin layers. For every 20 degrees the thermometer goes down, add another thin layer.

I always wear a hat if it is under 40 degrees F, but that is because I don’t have any hair. I strongly suggest a winter hat if it is below freezing, even if you have been blessed with a full head of hair. You lose a lot of your heat through your head. follicle

Spring – Be prepared for anything and everything in Spring. We tend to get more rain during this season than any. To me the coldest weather of all is just above freezing and rain. I won’t run in this weather unless I absolutely can’t find a way to avoid it. To survive in cold rain, you need a thin waterproof hooded jacket and pants to run in. Running in just a waterproof jacket does me no good. I hate the way it runs off and gets my quads soaking wet. I feel like I’m lifting wet ice blocks on every step when my quads get cold and wet. Probably the best seasonal running tips involve finding ways to work out and avoid bad weather. If I know cold rain is in the forecast for the upcoming week, I schedule my hard and easy workouts around it.

Summer Running – How do you beat the heat? There are two key strategies. First, run when the sun isn’t shining bright. You might have to run at dusk or dawn to get out of the hottest parts of the day. Another way to stay out of the sun is to run on a wooded trail. I have some great wooded trails nearby. The shade keeps it cooler even in the hottest parts of the day. One more fun way to beat the heat is to run to water. Pick routes where you can get wet. Run by a lake, the ocean, or set up a sprinkler in your yard and run past it a few times. Nothing feels better on a hot run than a cool shower.

Fall – The most beautiful season of the year here in Wisconsin is autumn. The trees turn to flowers as they blaze with bright reds, golden yellow, and burnt orange. Unfortunately in fall, the wind can be a major obstacle to overcome. There are two ways to beat the wind. Run in the woods again to be sheltered from the strongest gusts. The other way is to run with the wind. If you can, do a run from point A to point B where the whole run has you going with the wind. You’ll probably run a fast time doing this too.

I really don’t think we were meant to run and go no where on treadmills. Use some of these seasonal running tips to help you get out the door and enjoy every type of weather. I always feel extra tough and proud on the days when I brave the elements and go for a run.

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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