4 Cold-Weather Running Tips for Beginners

1. You won't need as much as you think you will. My rule now is shorts with short sleeve tech shirt down to 45 degrees and shorts plus long sleeve tech from 45 to 32. Anything below freezing calls for long thermals, shorts, and jacket with gloves (awesome running beanie, optional).

As I mentioned earlier, I found out rather quickly that running will heat the body up relatively quickly and more often than not, you'll regret that big puffy coat. Lower body stuff like leggings and tights aren't as suffocating, so feel free to experiment, but err on the side of minimalist up top.

2. That awful lung burn thing after your first few cold runs? Don't worry; it goes away. I can't tell you how many times I tried to "become a runner" in the winter months and got discouraged because of that awful burning sensation when I breathed; there is nothing worse than only being able to inhale half a breath out of fear of popping a lung. But don't worry; you'll get through it. It just takes a couple of runs to get your respiratory system adept to dealing with frosty air.

3. Nine of 10 scientists agree: runners look 50 percent cooler when wearing black gloves. OK, maybe not. But there's no doubt about it; running in the winter is so great because it brings out so many fashion choices. First off, the aforementioned gloves. There's just something about them. You feel faster when wearing them; you feel professional.

More: 5 Minimalist Winter Running Tips

Next there is the headgear. Women have the trendy headbands and earmuffs and guys have the wintertime beanies. But, again, be your own fashionista. Try new things and mix it up a little bit. Whatever you do, though, don't be the guy running with his shirt off when it's below freezing. People aren't staring because they think you're really awesome... Trust me. 

4. Hydration is still important. Yes, you obviously need more water in the summer months when you are sweating up a storm, but don't think that just because it is cold you don't need to hydrate. Ice cold water might be the last thing you want when the temps are low, but just be sure not to skip the water completely. Be smart and be healthy.

Bonus: If you get snow where you are, you have all the water you need; just stop and eat some of the white stuff and go on your way.

Other than that, just get out there and do it. You're going to be faster, and you're going to learn to love it. It might be tough at first, but I guarantee people will envy your willpower when they see you braving the brutal conditions as they pass in their van with the heater at full blast. Anyone can run in the spring, summer, and fall; it takes a true champ to face mother nature in the dead of winter.

More: 5 Ways to Run Past Your Mental Blocks

More: Running in Cold Weather

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About the Author

Ben Davis is the first Active.com ambassador. He recently lost 130 pounds and plans to lose the last 10 in the coming months. He runs, writes and blogs daily. You can read more about his journey at http://bendoeslife.com.

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