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Warm Weather Versus Cold Weather Running

Posted Jan 17 2011 8:45am

I’m a Chicago joggler who has no access to a treadmill. This means that *every run done during my current running and juggling streak has been done outside. This also means that I get to experience a wide range of weather including sun, rain, wind, snow, sleet, heat advisories, below zero temperatures, and more. As long as you dress properly, you can adapt to any conditions. And when you’ve run in different conditions often enough you’ll discover that each has its own benefits and disadvantages.

When the temperature is warm running and juggling is easiest. It can also make you feel happier with the sun radiating onto your body. On race days, I always hope for a slightly warm and sunny day. It makes it much more enjoyable to run and finish.

The downside to running in the heat is when it gets too hot. Over 70 degrees starts to overheat your body and running becomes more and more difficult. You get more exhausted, more dehydrated, and it can be hard to keep yourself moving. The sun can burn your skin, your eyes hurt from squinting too much, and sweat makes the juggling balls so slippery you have to think about every catch and throw.

Walking in the cold is no fun but running (and juggling) in cold weather is much more enjoyable. You’ll find that your body heats up quickly and the chilly air won’t bother you. In fact, it can be soothing to feel the air coat your lungs. Your speed with also increase when it is cooler outside. Runners in 50 F weather are faster than runners in 70 F weather.

Of course, if it gets too cold running gets much harder. The additional clothes you wear slow you down as does frigid temperatures. In fact, you can expect to be at least a minute a mile slower than your normal pace. And if there is ice on the ground, joggling can get treacherous.

I take a certain delight in joggling during a steady rain. The perfect rain to run in is one where the temperature is in the 60′s, there is limited wind, and no lightning. You’ll learn to love the synchronized rhythmic sound of your shoes splashing the ground while bean bags hit your hands. Also, the heaviness of your shirt as it absorbs water makes you feel like you’ve worked out extra hard.

The problem with rain joggling is obvious…you get wet. This can lead to a case of the chills, chaffing, and an all-around feeling of uncomfortableness. You’ll also damage your shoes, your electronic gadgets, and your juggling bean bags. For rain joggling, I like to have specific equipment set aside including my ‘rain’ joggling bags and my ‘rain’ running shoes.

So, which is my favorite? I don’t know. It really depends on my state of mind. Sunny, with a slight breeze, and temperatures in the mid 60′s is nearly perfect. But sometimes I like squeezing into some UnderArmor, throwing on three shirts, doubling up my gloves, covering all exposed skin, and venturing out into a cold, windy day, thumbing my nose at the worst nature can send.

What is your favorite weather to run in? Leave a comment below.

*There were 2 runs during this streak that were done in hotel fitness centers including the first run of the streak done in Akron & another done in New Jersey

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