Running Races in Cold Weather

Cold Weather Race Running

Tips for racing in cold weather.

Cold Weather Racing

When I think about running races (my favorites are 5Ks) in cold weather, two advice topics come to mind:

Proper Pre-Race Warm-up and Proper Race Clothing....

I like to arrive at most races about an hour before the gun. This generally provides ample time to park, check-in, register and yes, use the bathroom. I report to the check-in area wearing training leggings, training shoes and a jacket (with racing clothing underneath), a ski cap (or headband) and running gloves. The point here is to remain warm after leaving your car and during check-in, if outdoors.

After my check-in is complete, I usually go for a brisk warm-up walk to get the juices flowing...maybe a 1/4 mile or so, then its back to the car for some heat and a few gulps of a diluted sports drink. Typically I have about 30 minutes to the gun at this juncture.

Now it is time to pin on your number and affix the chip to your running shoe. (I generally wear training shoes to the race site & check-in and put on my racing flats at this time). Since I am not a big fan of port-o-johns this close to race start, due to crowds & lines, I take care of business in the car using a port-a-jar or can. With about 20 minutes to go before the gun, I exit the car and do some light stretching. Then I begin a slow warm-up jog around the parking lot and head out past the finish line to check out the last 800 yards of the course. I pick up the pace heading back toward the finish line to simulate race action. After a light perspiration has begun, then it is back into the car for a quick, last 'taking care of business' and another drink.

Five minutes before the gun I head to the starting line, still slightly perspired, and shed my leggings and warm-up jacket. The uniform of the day is generally racing tights (if the temperature is below 30 degrees) a long sleeve sports type top worn under a light weight t-shirt/singlet on which my race number is affixed. Light weight gloves and a ear/headband complete the wardrobe. Always dress for mid and race end, not the start! By the one mile mark, you will be toasty...don't let clothing bog you down! By the way, if you have a cold sunny day and no wind, you may wish to race only in running shorts or in compression pants with running shorts over-top. Leg wear really becomes a matter of personal feel and comfort against the cold.

If there is a water station on the course, always take a sip. It will relax your mind and refresh you.

After you cross the finish line, grab some refreshments and head to the car. Do not hang around while sweaty in the cold! Change into something dry and warm and then head back to the finish area to grab some refreshments and collect your medal!


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