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Hi, my first post. My name is Tom. I live in the Chicago area. I have been running alot this summer and have come to depend on running as my release of frustrations and my source for mental release. I am worried that come winter, it will be too cold or icy for me to run. Any suggestions on running in the winter? I belong to Bally Total Fitness and have used their indoor track several times, but find it quite discouraging. Running outside is the best for me. What is your opinion and suggestion on running in the winter? Is the cold air bad for your lungs? Thanks!!!

Keep Running! :D

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thanks for share such kind of informative article that helps a lot . i also wrote some articles on polar watch heart rate monitor thanks
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Welcome to the forums

When I ran in the winter (Philadelphia area) I ran in all sorts of weather. As long as you are layered pretty well, you should be fine.
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Welcome to the boards Tom! :coach:
I live in South Dakota, so we probably have similiar outdoor conditions in the winter, your weather is probably even nicer depending on how close you live to the lake.
The main hazard with running outside is the snow and sleet and slippery conditions. I use my treadmill alot in the winter (but not as much as I should).
If you run in the early morning....the cold can be bothersome then too, before sunrise, however if you run after the sun is up...it's not too bad if it isn't slippery out.
Hope this helps.
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Send a pm to jrjo about this. He lives in northern Minnesota and gave me some helpful info about winter gear for running. I didn't have a very good running winter last year, so i don't have the tips or the best advise, though i might still have his pm in my inbox.
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I'll try to keep this from being too longwinded. When winter hits, you'll likely become a weather channel junkie..as if you're not now But anyway, as mentioned, it's all about layering appropriately for the temp. While it's above freezing, one layer is all that's really needed. A long-sleeve moisture management type shirt (coolmax, under armour, drylete, etc) and a pair of tights will have you good to go. Add a cap and light gloves which you can take off and replace as you heat up or cool off during the run.
When the temps drop below freezing, that's where I like to add a jacket shell. Again some kind wind jacket that keeps the cool air off you but is also vented to let out the dampness. This is probably good enough down to about 20f degrees along with the above mentioned gear.
From 10-20f degrees, adding wind pants over the tights will keep the legs warm too and bumping up to a stocking cap and thicker gloves or mitts is a good idea.
In the 0-10f degree range, I'll add another inside layer on top, something like a fleece vest between the coolmax and the wind jacket. I'll also wear a neoprene facemask and earmuffs at this point. You asked about cold air being bad for the lungs, and don't buy in to that. If that were the case, every Kenmore freezer would come with warning labels to hold your breath when you opened it. Reality is, in the real cold temps the air is very dry. All the moisture has been froze and dropped right out of it so that "burn" in the lungs is really from dry air. And what the neoprene mask does, aside from keeping the wind off your cheeks and chin is to hold just enough of the moisture as you exhale that as you inhale you can get some of that dampness back in your lungs and keep that burn away. Believe you me, this works great.
Dipping below zero is when you pull out all the stops. Triple layers on top, triple layers on bottom, facemask, earmuffs, thick cap, gloves and mitts.
And as for shoes, I've not had a problem in 25-years with just running in regular socks and wearing the same old trainers. I did have a winter or two where I got myself some trail shoes and they actually did help get through some of the snowier runs, but really, any kind of shoe is going to be fine. Just slow down if there is ice and don't extend your stride so far to cause yourself to do the splits if you land on an ice patch. Try to keep your footfall right below your knee when the conditions are really bad.

A couple other winter hints. One is to time your run if you can for the warmest part of the day. I do this by running at noon-time. First off, this gives you the best temps of the day, which in our corner of the world is going to mean it'll be above zero for all but a handful of days. And secondly, waiting for later in the day, the sun is going to melt some of the ice and slush on the black asphalt enough that the moisture in the air is going to notch up some and keep that "lung burn" from happening. Finally, the other reason to wait until later in the day is if there is some overnight snowfall, by mid-morning, the plows have cleaned things up and you can avoid some of the real messy footing.

But probably the biggest fun of running in the winter is coming here and posting about your 20-below zero temp run and reading the replies of the Hotlantians :o 8)
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There are also these things called yaktrax that you slip on over your shoes. They are little x's of rubber with coils on them. I have heard good things about them though never tried them. Maybe i should, I live in the upper peninsula of michigan.

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im not afraid to admit that i run on an indoor track 75% of the time because im too big of a sissy to go out if its under 55 or so!
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OMG you are a wuss! Least I stay out till it's 30 or so.
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Same here but 40-45 degs for me. Cold air kicks my asthma into high gear unless I'm doing a really slow pace.
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jrjo's post pretty much sums it all up, but I'd like to add a couple simple points that I find really help me out:

Depending on how cold it gets, you can look into different weights of fleece. I typically find that a regular weight (I think they refer to it as a 100 weight) and a shell will get you to around -10F (for me, at least). But with a 200 weight fleece and shell, I've been out for hour-long runs at -40F with the feet and hands being the coldest thing.

Another key item for winter running is a pair of sunglasses. I've got the Oakley Half-Jackets which allow you to change the lenses in them (other manufacturers have similar items). I've got a lens set for bright days to cut the glare and reflection, and another orange set for hazy, foggy days, or days with a light snowfall.

And if you just can't get out during the day, get a reflective vest and ankle straps. Even those blinking lights on bikes work great. Odds are, you'll be on or near the road if the sidewalks aren't maintained, and you'll want to be as visible as possible.

And just one more thing. In the winter, do NOT go for big long tours! Keep to shorter loops near your home/gym just in case the weather changes. That's one mistake you make only once in your life.....
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Welcome to the boards, Tom! :D

You've got a lot of great advice here so I won't really add anything else but I just wanted to let you know that I started out as a total winter running wuss. I hated winter and I hated running outside IN the winter even more. But, over the three years I have been running winter has now become one of my favorite times to run! :D

My most favorite run ever: I can remember it was just beginning to snow and we already had snow on the ground from the previous days. I was running in the middle of the road (hardly any traffice that day plus it was early) and it was just me, the earth and the snow there that day. It was a very calm and peaceful run and one I will probably never forget.

Good Luck!
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I totally agree with you! Being Canadian, you'd think I've grown to love winter -- nope! But running on a calm morning with a gentle snowfall is as close to utopia as I've been. I had such an experience last year one morning on the Rideau Canal, before all the skaters woke up. Beautiful!
Enjoy it while you can!
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Don't forget the sunscreen in the winter. I use a sunscreen and then also use on cold windy days Vaseline Jelly Cream all over my face.
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I live in Minneapolis, MN so I have run through the worst of times (-10 with 30 mph winds dropping the windchill down to -40) and the best of times (MN summers are great for runners). With winter running, you MUST HAVE a good outer shell layer.

Layering is obviously the best idea for winter running, but you need a very good outer-shell layer. This will act to shield you from the cutting wind, as well as continue to wick moisture away from your dry-fit inner layers. I would spend at least $100 or more on your outer layer to ensure a quality product. Case in point: my wife ran in a $50 Brooks shell and was always cold even when she had three quality under layers. I recently purchased her an adidas response trail coat for $100 from the adidas website which should do a better job doing the aforementioned items.

Layering should also apply to your hands. I would recommend a thin dry-fit glove layer followed by a mitten shell layer. This will keep the wind from cutting through your gloves to your skin.

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