Well it’s officially winter! Our nice, temperate fall gave way to a blustery first week of winter and we definitely felt it at the Turkey Day 8k on Thanksgiving morning. (For all of you who participated, kudos to you! I am always amazed at the number of runners and walkers we get at these freezing events. A big pat on the back for braving the elements and showing up to run; we had fun watching you cross the finish with icy eyebrows and blue lips!) While watching the race, I saw one runner in shorts (which I am positive he regretted) and another runner in full snow boots and two down jackets (again, I’m sure she regretted this decision as she warmed up about a quarter mile into the race). It’s the question that rolls around in my head each time I step out the door for a run: “Am I wearing the right type of clothing?”

I just read an article from a man who suggested that you never need as much clothing as you think while running in cold weather. This may be the case, but as you know, we live in Montana and the weather can change in an instant. It’s okay to start your run a little chilly because you will warm up but I firmly believe in layering. So my First Tip is this: Layer your apparel. If you get hot, tie that jacket around your waist. Gloves fit nicely in pockets and that beanie can find a home with them. But if you get cold, it’s harder to warm up if you don’t have the correct apparel to begin with. And of course, stay away from cotton; this material will just hold onto sweat and we’ll never feel warm for the remainder of our run.

I was speaking to a friend the other day and she asked if the cold weather hurts my lungs too much for me to continue to run outside. It never has bothered them but it made me think that this does affect a certain amount of people. My SecondTip is this (in the nicest way possible): You’ll get used to it! The burning lung sensation we get from running in cold temps will eventually subside. It takes a couple runs but our respiratory system figures it out and it no longer becomes a problem. So if you hate running on the treadmill as much as I do, no sweat. Just get outside, enjoy the scenery on your next run and remember that the sensation you experience in your lungs will be gone in no time.

And last but not least, my Third Tip is: Remember to stay hydrated. With such a dry season, we sometimes forget to hydrate like we normally do during the warmer months. Drink up and you’ll feel much better during and after your run.