Running in cold weather
Are you a fan of outdoor running, even in winter? Great! However, it’s important to keep in mind that cold temperatures and variable conditions can have a significant impact on our bodies. From a sports nutrition point of view, certain principles must be respected if you want to get the most out of it.
When it’s cold, our desire to drink water decreases, but with clothing designed for physical activity and multi-layers, we still sweat and lose water through breathing!
The risk of dehydration is less than during a heat wave, but still present. To prevent dehydration, plan to drink small sips every 15-20 minutes throughout your activity or drink before and after your activity. Keeping your throat hydrated will also help with breathing and prevent coughing after your run, as the cold, dry air dries out the mucous membranes. Keep a water bottle in a pocket close to your body to prevent it from freezing or use a hydration vest or winterized running belt under your coat.
When it’s cold, the body tries to warm up and requires even more energy to sustain a normal running intensity. Carbohydrate requirements may thus be a little higher than in warmer temperatures.
If your run is longer than 60-90 minutes, consume 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour to maintain your energy level and to recover better.
Keep your snacks rolled up in clothing in your pack or close to your body and not in the outside pockets, to prevent them from freezing.
Fruit or dried fruit bars (such as Fruit Source and Fruit to Go), muffin bars or fruit or jam filled bars (such as Nature’s Bakery and Nutri-Grain) are ideal to bring as they do not harden. Otherwise, just bring dates or a banana!
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