c. Martin Seck

Cold-Weather Running Tips

October 17, 2019

Winter is approaching, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop running in the park! Prospect Park Alliance teamed up with our friends at New York Road Runners to bring you tips for cold-weather running so you can stay in fighting form for upcoming races. Use these tips in the lead up to the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half, taking place on March 15, 2020 starting right here in Prospect Park. The application period for this race is now open and runs through November 13.

Wear synthetic fabrics and layer your clothing. In the cold, keep most of your body covered. The fabric closest to your skin should be synthetic and preferably sweat-wicking and it should fit snugly. Your outermost layer should be wind-resistant and waterproof if it’s raining or snowing. If you plan to race in the cold, it’s smart to test everything that you plan to wear in advance to make sure it’s warm enough and comfortable to race in.

Respect your body and your limits. Cold temperatures restrict blood flow, which can cause muscles to contract and even cramp. You may feel stiff and tight, especially as you begin a run, and if you try to force the pace, you may damage a muscle. Adjust your pace to allow your body extra time to warm up.

Don’t forget to drink. In cold weather, it’s easy—and unsafe—to overlook your fluid needs. Your body is still sweating, so replenish your fluids appropriately. Prospect Park Alliance’s new freeze-resistant fountains are year-round hydration stations, so make sure to take advantage of them while you run!

Protect your face, head, and extremities. Wear a hat and gloves, preferably of synthetic, wicking material, and in extreme cold, use a face mask or scarf to cover your neck and face. Wind increases the effects of the cold; you may risk a mild form of frostbite called “frost nip” on unprotected areas if it’s near-freezing and windy. Apply a sweat-resistant sport moisturizer and lip balm for extra protection. 

Shorten your stride in snow, ice, sleet, or heavy rain. If there is snow, ice, or excessive water on the ground, shorten your stride slightly and pay attention to your footing and the runners around you to avoid accidents. Ice creates a much greater danger of a slip-and-fall, which can send you to the hospital with a broken bone. If you race in this kind of weather, don’t expect to run a personal best; instead, plan for a safe race.

Take care of yourself after your run. Get inside right away; although you’ll feel warm just after completing a run, you will chill quickly. Keep moving, and get inside as soon as you can. For a race in the wet or cold, have warm clothing on hand post-race. This includes dry socks, warm sweatpants, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt and/or jacket, gloves, and a warm hat. 

Learn more about running in Prospect Park, and check out NYRR’s Group Training, coach-led workouts that meet at Grand Army Plaza on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Upcoming sessions kick off in November and January.

See you on the loop!