A couple of weeks ago, most of us had never heard of a “polar vortex,” but this week, the better part of America found itself smack dab in the middle of one. I think “Brrrrr!” is an understatement for the kind of weather we’re experiencing right now (unless you’re one of the lucky ones in California!).
January may still be a little bit early in the year to start your official 3-Day training, but since I know you all are still firmly committed to your 3-Day-related New Year’s Resolutions (right?), you’re working on increasing your walking a little bit at a time. But you may be wondering, “How can I get my 3-Day training walks in when it’s minus freezing degrees outside?”
So here are some tips for walking in a winter wonderland:
Dress for the occasion – Before stepping outside, you’ll probably be inclined to bundle up in your down parka, but if you’re taking a walk, it may be better to dress in lighter, thinner layers, and shed as you go if you need to. Moisture-wicking fabric is best for the layer closest to your skin. You may be cold, but if you’re moving, you’re sweating, and the only thing worse than being really cold is being really cold and wet. Also, don’t forget hats and gloves, and whenever possible, wear brightly colors and/or reflective materials so you stand out against your white-grey environment.
Warm your digits – One 3-Day coach loves those chemical-activated hand and foot warmers (available in the camping section of any sporting goods store). They are a quick, inexpensive way to keep your fingers and toes toasty. They fit snugly inside your gloves and your shoes and will ease the shock of the freezing temps on your extremities.
Take care of your skin – Cold air and wind can really do a number on exposed skin, so don’t forget to put on moisturizer before heading out. And sunscreen too!
Hydrate – Drinking water when it’s hot out is a no brainer. You crave the cool water to quench the heat. It can be harder to remember to hydrate in the cold, but it’s no less essential when you’re exercising. If you normally carry your water in a fanny pack while you walk, think about holding it in your hand while walking in the cold, as an ever present reminder to sip as you step.
Choose your route carefully – Be certain that you’re walking someplace familiar, and be ready to pay close attention to the terrain with every step. If the sidewalks have not been cleared of ice and snow, walk in the street. Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you get lost in a snow drift, they’ll want to know where to start digging! J
Stay indoors – Wait, you’re not off the hook for training! But if it’s just too nasty outside, find someplace indoors to get moving. While we don’t recommend that you do all of your 3-Day training on a treadmill, it’s a perfectly good alternative to outdoor walking if you need it. No treadmill? Throw on your shoes and walk on an indoor track, through a shopping mall, or up and down the stairs in your office building. One of our coaches also suggested college campuses as places that often have large and/or interconnected bulidings, and lovely grounds you can walk through.
Trust your gut – Don’t push yourself too hard. If your instincts (or your local weather advisories) tell you that it’s not safe or healthy to be exercising outside, or if you get started on a walk and something doesn’t feel right, take a break. Having you healthy and whole for the 3-Day is more important than getting that mile or two in during a cold snap.
Here’s hoping for warmer days ahead! And if you have any great cold weather training tips that we missed, please share them in comments!