With temperatures dropping below freezing in the winter and an increase in wetter weather, Idaho can be a challenging state to run in throughout the seasons. Even so, this state is extremely mild when compared to other parts of the country. No crazy blizzards or wind storms means a much easier time adapting to safe late season runs.
Run With the Sun
Running in the dark can be dangerous, even with reflective gear. Cars have a harder time seeing you and you have a harder time seeing the ground you’re running on. Unfortunately, Idaho’s northern latitude means the sun sets pretty early in the evening, around 5pm during the solstice. This can be limiting to those with longer job hours. One safe alternative is to run during your lunch break or switch to an indoor treadmill. If you have to run at night, stick to sidewalks and other marked paths, avoid roads as much as you can, and wear a flashing light.
Wear the Right Stuff
Working out and cooler temperatures have always been at odds. While it feels great to cool down so quickly, you should never sweat so much you get a chill. The rule of thumb is to dress for 20 degrees warmer than the environment you’re in. Remember that light layers are your best friend. Ideally, you’ll want material designed to wick away sweat instead of absorb so that you maximize heat retention. Your shoes should be waterproof and breathable and you should always wear some sort of reflective material.
Change Fast and Drink Water
As soon as the run ends, your core body temperature begins to plummet. While not a problem in the summer, preventing heat loss is a priority in the winter. As soon as you get home, change into dry clothes immediately. If your hair is wet, wrap it in a towel. Returning your core temperature to normal improves your resistance to colds. In addition, make sure you rehydrate. Just like with swimming, the lack of heat and obvious sweat can cause us to neglect how much water we drink. Don’t be tricked into thinking you need less water after a cold run.
Start Hard, Finish Easy
Temperature fluctuations bring wind, and while Idaho isn’t nearly as windy as Chicago can be, it still offers its residents a few blustery days. When the wind is whipping around, be sure to start your run against it so it is at your back for the finish. Apart from making the walk home less exhausting, it limits wind burn from the wind from hitting you directly after you’ve broken into a sweat.
The fall and winter seasons can be a fantastic time of the year to run. Far cooler than the rest of the year, there’s nothing like cozying up inside after traversing the elements. Just remember to run smart and safe to get the most out of those fantastic Idaho winters.