Winter running tips with Coach Pat Somerville

With temperatures dropping and snow in the forecast, winter running season has descended on Saskatoon.

For those who don’t want to spend the next several months logging miles exclusively on the treadmill, running coach Patrick Somerville shared some tips with the Brainsport Times on how to be safe and comfortable during chilly runs.

Pat Somerville, left, stands with two of his coached athletes at the Berlin Marathon.

Dress in layers — but don’t overdress

Once you start moving, your body will heat up so dress for temperatures warmer than what your thermometer reads. Layering makes it easier for your body to regulate its temperature and allows you to lose a layer or two if you overheat. On a cold day consider wearing a base layer of wool or synthetic fabrics, a middle fleece layer and a wind-breaking layer, which can be a thin material or more insulated.

Keep your extremities warm

In cold temperatures, blood is shunted from the extremities to the core, which means your fingers can feel colder than the rest of your body. Invest in gloves, mittens, wool socks, toques and buffs to keep your fingers, toes and face warm.

Pull-on grips can turn your shoes into slip-free footwear.

Be mindful of ice

When running on snowy or icy surfaces, shorten your stride to avoid falls/slips. Traction footwear — such as the steel-studded shoes or the Saucony Peregrine Ice with Vibram Arctic Grip sole — can help reduce slips, as can pull-on grips. If conditions are too poor, the treadmill can also be your best friend.

Stay visible

Not only does winter bring colder temperatures, it also brings fewer daylight hours. For those running in the morning or evening, wear reflective clothing that’s visible to drivers, cyclists and other runners. Most running gear features reflective elements around logos and zippers. Some runners may also opt for reflective vests or clothing with larger swaths of reflective material.

Stay positive

Smiling and a general positive attitude will change the workout’s feel. Even if weather conditions are sub-par, an optimistic outlook can get you the desired results.

Patrick Somerville is a long-time coach with Brainsport who is trying to run all the World Major Marathons (he’s crossing the Virgin Money London Marathon off his list this spring when he runs that race in a charity spot to raise money for The Bereavement Trust). He is coaching an 18-week half- and full-marathon running clinic on Monday evenings starting on Jan. 27. For more information or to register, sign up online.