General/Cold Weather Running Questions (Read 233 times)


    Hello, I used to do track & field, and I am interested in joining my school's Cross Country team next year, so I just had a few beginner running questions for you guys to help me get started. First off, I am just starting in a cold season, so I will probably be wearing for runs now, sweats, and a jacket, and when it gets colder, and snowy, gloves and a hat. When I am cold weather running, and I go from being outside, to being indoors right after the run my ears really hurt for a while after the change in temperature, so I was just wondering if there's any way to prevent that, otherwise I'll just ignore it. Also, my current routine is planned as being cardio (for the cardio I am going to begin with half-hour runs, and add 5 minutes every 2 weeks) every other day, and full-body workouts (with the machine called "Bio Force" which came with a list of workouts including abs/chest, legs, shoulder, biceps/triceps). I did my first run today, officially kicking off my new routine, and only jogged a disappointing 2 miles. Does this routine seem like it will work? I've heard that cardio should help my abs, and the Bio Force workout for abs is quite small (only some crunches, and oblique crunches, with added resistance) so should I add on some of my own abs to the full-body workout? I also have heard that abs heal fast, so if cardio does indeed work my abs, I should be able to work them every day right? Finally, since there is a leg workout for the Bio Force machine, should I do that and still run, or should I forget the leg workout because the cardio should work out my legs enough, and they need time to heal?


    Sorry that this is such a large paragraph, I'm bad at fitting things into small sentences, but thank you at anyone who will take the time to read this, and even more to those who can answer my questions. Please have a nice day!

      If your ears hurt when you go inside, it's because you are letting them get TOO COLD.  Wear a headband or something.  Let your body tell you when to dress warmer, not the thermometer.

      Latent Runner

        Prior to ever running Track and Field or Cross Country, I delivered news papers in rural Michigan as a kid.  One particularly cold January I lost my hat and couldn't afford to buy a new one, and when I say, "cold", I mean like between 10 and 25 below zero cold.  I remember having my ears in agony for at least the first week both during my deliveries and again when I came back inside, the second week was less of an issue, and by the third week, I didn't even notice it.  That happened back in the early 1970s and since that time, my ears rarely get cold, even when I'm skiing or snowshoeing or running in a blizzard.


        Please understand, I'm not saying you should go without a hat, and I'm not even saying if you ignore it as your ears will get used to it; I'm just sharing what happened to me.

        Fat old man PRs:

        • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
        • 2-mile: 13:49
        • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
        • 5-Mile: 37:24
        • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
        • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
        • Half Marathon: 1:42:13

          Can't give any advice on how to train to be a better runner, but I know a thing or two about running in the cold and I definitely second JRMichler's advice: wear a headband or a hat. If your ears hurt when you go back indoors it's because they got too cold.

          I say things. I do things. Does it all have to make sense?

            I think it is safe to say that running is the best exercise to prepare you for cross country season.  I haven't noticed that running improves my abs at all though.  You can run every day and the elite runners do.  I think most abs workouts are done every day also, but I don't do any.  I would avoid doing a leg workout before a run.  Running will not build large leg muscles if that is your goal.

              As others have suggested, try wearing a hat or headband for the ear issue.


              As for running, I'd go with running and core strengthening. There's more to your core than abs. Google. If you're trying out for a school team, then ask your coach about base building in winter. He/she may already have a program setup.


              Rather than machines, try some functional strength training suitable for running. This means you're free-standing, preferably on at most one leg. You'll need to strengthen the little stabilizers in your feet and ankles to prepare for trail or cross country running.

              "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                From shorts and a shirt, I put a hat on next, as it gets colder, then a longsleeve shirt, then gloves, then a hoodie (jacket), then sweatpants, then a neck gaiter. That's the order of progression for me.


                Seems like you don't like a hat, and put that on last. Thus the cold ears, I suspect.
                sport jester


                  As to temperature, that's a layering issue. And you start from the points of your body furthest from your heart.


                  Also preheating your body is a necessary but overlooked technique. If you breath on the warm air output of a blowdrier then the warm air will heat the blood and build your internal body temperature before you open the door to step outside. Maintaining body heat will be easier than trying to build it while running.


                  Start with a good hat that covers your ears. Then find good gloves. Warm socks would finish the list.


                  From there, protect your upper body with long sleeve shirts and build in layers of clothing from your torso with a good vest and then long sleeve clothing to save weight.


                  Keep the leg coverings as light as possible since they're doing the most work and will be easier to keep warm.


                  And of course the easiest and most efficient way to stay warm is learn to use a treadmill.


                  In fact I'd suggest developing a treadmill first philosophy and learn the technique differences between sprinting and

                  endurance running form. If you don't your history says you'll be prone to knee issues or shin splints.


                  Sprinting is a quad based running technique as its taught. Endurance running is focused on utilizing not only your gluteus maximus, but transition your power reliance upon the slow twitch fibers of your muscles rather than the fast twitch as sprinting demands.


                  Start here: Its called the masking tape exercise in the story. Use your treadmill time to become comfortable with an

                  endurance based running form.


                  Experts said the world is flat

                  Experts said that man would never fly

                  Experts said we'd never go to the moon


                  Name me one of those "experts"...


                  History never remembers the name of experts; just the innovators who had the guts to challenge and prove the "experts" wrong

                  Prince of Fatness

                    Start here: Its called the masking tape exercise in the story.


                    Masking tape can help protect you from the cold?  Wow.  Who knew?


                      It is rare that I read a JS post and agree.


                      Layer on top, don't worry too much about your legs. Hat, gloves and socks are critical in the cold.

                      If you want to try the masking tape thing that's fine but it won't kill you just to run a lot, mostly easy, sometimes long and sometimes fast (and it will probably help).

                        Another perspective - focus on extremities first, then the core. The outermost extremities - head, feet, hands - are top priority, so agree with that, except to use mittens rather than gloves since they're warmer. Then those long conduits that lose heat - legs and arms - if your legs aren't warm enough, you risk injury, and cold legs are hard to run on, thus reducing your ability to keep moving and generating heat. Then core - for me, a vest is extra weight that contributes to overheating. For me, it's more efficient to keep the extremities and long tubes warm and let my core ventilate. I'd tried using a vest years ago, but by the time I get enough heat built up to warm the feet, legs, arms, and hands, I'm sweating.


                        If you'll be out for multiple hours, consider taking a pack with extra layers or to carry layers, as needed. The outdoors can be great in winter. Enjoy it.


                        I may use a vest when doing volunteer work like brushing trails where I'm not producing as much heat and prefer less insulation on arms for movement. This is like near 0F.

                        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                        One day at a time

                          I wear 180s Tec Fleece Ear-Warmers when it's really cold.  http://www.rei.com/product/837458/180s-tec-fleece-ear-warmers


                          Even as a slow, middle-aged woman, I find that I warm up quickly after a mile or so.  Once I'm that far, I figure I may as well keep going.

                          full speed ahead

                            Headbands are magic.  They keep your ears warm and don't heat up your brain compartments.  As for other cold gear wear, I would definitely recommend convertible gloves.  They'll keep you warm, but comfortable through a wide temp range.  As for bottoms, get some half tights and full tights.  CW-X tights are the last pair you'll ever need and they'll get you through the coldest and windiest runs.  You'll have to decide what temp ranges each are appropriate for you.


                            As for workouts work on core and stabilizing muscles before anything else.  Have a "legs" day and an "arms" day, but on either you should be doing abs, side leg lifts, and med ball/swiss balls exercises.

                            Everyone gets knocked down. Champions get up.