Weighing In: Hot N’ Cold

Each week, our own fitness fanatics Leah Polakoff and Caitlyn Kronket will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.

Katy Perry may have been referring to Happy Valley when belting out “Hot N Cold,” as the weather here really does change its mind like a girl changes clothes. Trust us runners – we would know.

Preparing to run during winter is a challenge, especially when the weather is as inconsistent as it is in State College. One week you’re running in a tank and the next you’re wearing compression tights. Runners have to be prepared for every type of weather, as what you’re wearing and the gear you use could affect your run.

“Penn State is a pretty crazy place to train. The weather is completely unpredictable,” says junior Nick Scarpello, member of the varsity cross-country team. “I set out on a tempo run on a warm sunny September afternoon this year and by the middle of it I was running in a hail storm.”

While you can’t prevent being pelted by hail mid-run, you can keep your body warm during sudden temperature changes. Dress accordingly by wearing layers, and no I don’t mean bundling up with heavy fleece jackets and scarves. The less clothing you wear when running, the less you’ll be weighed down by.

“I do pretty much what any other person would do when the temperature drops, I put on more clothes… I am a fan of Under Armour compression cold gear since it is very warm, but isn’t bulky,” says senior Jeff Barry, a club cross-country team captain.

For winter running, splurge on compression tights and a moisture-wicking turtleneck. Keep your body covered, but with the right fabrics; avoid fleece, heavy cotton or baggy sweatpants. In extreme cold, make sure to cover the neck, hands and ears. Waiting for your hands to thaw out after a run is painful, but a Nike head wrap and gloves should help prevent Jack Frost from nipping at you.

Wearing a scarf and ski mask will not only prevent frostbite, but will keep away that ugly dry cough and burning in your lungs so many runners complain about in the winter. Your body will get used to the chilly air after a few weeks, but until then, try to cover up as much as possible to keep your body temperature close to normal.

So whether it’s hot or cold as you head out to run this winter, say yes to the tips above and no to the cold weather affecting your workout. Happy running!