It’s beginning to look a lot like winter, even if the official start is a couple weeks away.
So it’s time to start thinking about ways to cope with the cold weather when planning that daily run.
Here’s our Big 15 annual list – some obvious, some perhaps worth a reminder.
/>1. Pick an out-and-back course: You want to pick a course which starts off going into the wind when you have a lot of energy and then have the wind at your back on the way home.
/>2. Dress in layers: No need to dress like your visiting Alaska. A couple layers of synthetics will do. Don’t forget the hat and gloves.
/>3. Proper shoes: Hey, it’s often slushy or icy out there. So wear the sturdiest shoes you can find, with a good tread and waterproof uppers.
/>4. Avoid the streets: Run off the streets as much as possible. With the shortened days, it gets dark early. Drivers can’t see you well. Use sidewalks and, better yet, trails, canal paths, ballfields, etc.
/>5. Stretch first: Muscles take longer to warm up in winter. Do a three-to-five-minute stretch routine, then walk five or 10 minutes around the house. Work up a sweat if possible. It won’t feel as cold when you get outside.
/>6. Hydrate: Even though the thermometer is chilling out around the freezing mark, your body still loses electrolytes through perspiration. A quick sports drink before departure will cover this.
/7. Illumination: Getting back to No. 4, if you are running before sun-up or after sundown, carry a light, bright flashlight or one of your typical “headlights’’ that makes you look like a coal miner or a brain surgeon.
/8. Music: One way to put up with the bad elements is to add headphones and your favorite crooner. Just make sure you don’t do this on busy roadways or trails with rocks and roots. Then Led Zeppelin is OK.
/>9. Run with a partner: There’s nothing like setting up a running date with a partner (or two) to keep you from staying inside in front of the fireplace.
/>10. New courses: Winter is the perfect time to explore new courses to prevent monotony and boredom. There’s nothing wrong with driving 10 miles to a state park to get some new sights and sounds.
/>11. Lip balm: Don’t forget the Chapstick. Your lips will thank you, especially when temps get down in the single digits.
/>12. Winter Series: The Bucks County Roadrunners Club puts on a wonderful dozen races at Tyler State Park, scheduled for each Sunday. Head over there, socialize, compete, eat, drink and be merry.
/>13. Gear down: With the scarcity of winter races, there’s no reason to get all hyper with the mileage. This is the time of year to slow the pace, build up your base and set a pace that’s comfortable for a change.
/>14. Cross-train: When the really heavy stuff starts to fall, think about using indoor sports such as tennis, swimming and stationary biking as a replacement. And then there’s always the treadmill, aka, the “Dreadmill.’’
/>15. Make it fun: Winter running doesn’t have to be a chore. Find ways to break up the old routine, go dashing through the snow and congratulate yourself when you get back from that run in one piece.
12K o’ Christmas, 9 a.m., Richboro. Contact www.runsignup.com
Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series Covered Bridge, 5K, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park. Contact www.bcrrclub.com