By Mia Sherin, December 24, 2020
I’ve never been much of a runner. I love staying active, doing yoga, pilates, and even dance workouts, but running was never something I got into. That is, until this summer, when I was home from college with my parents who invited me to start running with them. I put up a bit of a fight at first, but after our first few runs, I started to really enjoy it. I liked finding a good playlist, pushing to go a little farther than I did the day before, and trying to keep up with my parents.
But now, where I’m from in Chicago, it’s pretty freaking cold. I wanted to keep running, but I wasn’t quite sure how to do so safely and comfortably. How do I avoid pulling a muscle? Or manage the cold sweats that come with running in thirty degree weather? I called in some expert help, my friends Cate and Caitlyn, to answer some of my questions so I could continue building up my running habit.
Cate Robertson started running track when she was twelve. Now, she’s a sprinter on her college track team. And she’s from Boston, so she can certainly vouch on her experience of running in cold, cold weather. Caitlyn Haas has been running for eleven years, and just graduated from college where she ran cross country and track.
When I asked Caitlyn about her running regimen, she said, “Since I’ve graduated and been able to be on my own schedule, especially with a full time job and it getting dark really early, I have been running in the mornings. I go on a regular schedule of waking up early and going on a run before I get ready for work, which I have loved. It’s such a quiet moment in the day.” Although she is in sunny California, she explained that the mornings are chilly, usually around thirty degrees. So, she has had to learn how to dress warmly, and exercise safely, so she doesn’t pull a muscle in the cold.
Both Cate and Caitlyn spoke to the danger of a pulled muscle when running in cold weather. The main solution? A thorough warm-up. Because Cate typically does track workouts, which consist of sprints and explosive movements rather than longer distance runs, she has to be extra careful when in cold weather. She explained that her “warmup is normally about twice as long as the actual workout, because if you don’t, you could tear a muscle or pull something if it’s cold out.”
Caitlyn echoed that idea and said, “Something I always try to make sure to do if it is really cold is to move my body before I start running, so I don’t have to take excess layers on my run.” This brought me straight into my next question for them, which was “What the heck so I wear when I go running?” I found myself unsure, because I would start off my run shivering, and end with weird cold sweats and discomfort.
The consensus between the two of them? Leggings and a tight long-sleeved shirt. Caitlyn also suggested purchasing a pair of crew socks to keep my ankles warm as well, and Cate sometimes throws a tight t-shirt beneath the long-sleeved shirt to add an extra layer. Additionally, if you are doing more of a track workout like Cate, you might want to bring a sweatshirt with you for your rest period.
While I was skeptical about getting out and running in the cold, Cate and Caitlyn definitely convinced me. “I really like running when it’s cold because generally when it’s cold out,” Cate explained, “you're not outside as much, and running kind of gives you an excuse to be outside.” With that, I decided to grab my favorite sports bra, tight long-sleeved shirt, and get outside for a run. Without putting too much pressure on what this run might look like—how fast I go, how many miles I run, how tired I get—I just let myself get excited to be outside, be refreshed, and get active.