Winter running a viable fitness option

“Cotton is rotten,” says Lori Leduc an avid runner and manager at the new Running Room in Red Deer.

She’s got experience running and running in the winter. The amount of snow outside may have some thinking stay inside.

But there are those who are curious about this outdoor living thing. (Even if it’s minus 30C degrees outside)

Yes that’s right, a sport that most active Americans can only fathom participating in, in the summer, can actually be done in the winter. How you ask? Well with preparation.

In the summer, you have to wear significantly less. You need shoes, shorts and preferably a shirt. In the winter, it starts from the ground up according to Leduc.

“You can wear just regular running shoes. Trail shoes are common because they have extra traction on the bottom. There’s also a sheer gortex shoe. It’s gortex lined, so it’s water repellent.”

There are also spikes that attach to your shoes; commonly known as Yaktrax. These help you keep your balance on a day when you need to cross a rare snow-packed street in our City.

“I’ve already fell once,” she jokes. “But if you have those on it gives you extra traction.”

Movin’ on up, tights are best.

“With baggier pants you get the air in between which can cause you to cool off faster.”

The running vet recommends anything with front wind repellent, water repellent panels. “They are quite common because the thighs are the main areas of your legs that get cold the fastest. They use 60 per cent of your oxygen.”

For your upper body, layer, layer, layer. Three layers are needed.

“You want to have a base layer, polyester and that’s tight to the skin. And depending on the temperature you’ll either want to have a mid layer which usually is a bit thicker and not as tight.”

This layer also consists of man-made material, some are fleece. The third layer is an outer shell. This is the wind resistant layer.

These jackets have under arm zippers. Why?

“Most of your heat releases through your armpit.”

Outer jackets are like an SUV, the neat little drop down, pockets and zippers everywhere.

“Most outerwear have a drop down bottom so your buttocks are covered.”

Then there’s your hands, some people want gloves; some want mitts. Basically the rule of thumb is that everyone is different. If you’re hands are usually cold in the winter, wear the warmest gloves or mitts you can. And add hotpockets inside your gloves for extra heat.

For your face a balaclava is not uncommon for running in the cold.

“The majority of your heat is lost from your head,” warns Leduc.

She says that many runners use Vaseline to protect exposed skin against the elements. “You can’t break through Vaseline with cold winter wind.”

Also, for really cold weather, you can wear eye glasses.

“Your eyeballs can actually freeze and I’ve had that, it’s not fun.”

For those who have never had this symptom before, Leduc explains, “It’s common for eyelashes to get frozen so bad that your eyes freeze shut.”

If this happens, cover your eyes immediately with something warm like your hands.

So head to toe, you’re covered, except there is one thing you need to think about guys, “They make under garments for men, with windproof panels to cover their male organs.”

They also have nipple covers to prevent chaffing.

Even though Central Alberta see bitter cold winters, running remains a viable fitness option.