Brrrrr. It’s cold out there. And even after we finish our run we can’t seem to shake the chill from our bones. What we need to do is get warm and fast.
Once the temperatures drop many of us continue to brave the cold and get in our runs. And for those training for a spring half or full marathon, that means logging in longer mileage. The further we run the more time we are out in the cold and exposed to the elements—even when we are dressed properly for a cold, winter run.
The good news is that running in the winter is actually good for our health. This includes building immunity, strengthening the heart, boosting mood and burning more calories.
After running for some time the body warms up. Soon our muscles are no longer tense as we try crave to get warm, and instead, we begin to sweat in all our layers and wish we weren’t so warm.
When the run is done we head back home feeling good. But then the chills creep its way back. This could be as long as hours after the run.
Science Of The Shiver
Here’s what is going on in the inside. The brain regulates our internal temperature, using the skin as its thermometer in a sense. If there is a loss of heat than the body gets chills or shivers. This is done to produce heat and expand the blood vessels that is closest to the skin to prevent further heat loss.
Then we start to run. Our temperature goes up which keeps the body warm and our blood flow increases. We begin to sweat to lose some of that heat, as the body continues to regulate itself. Even though we are sweating (wet) out in the cold we don’t feel cold because our temperature is warm enough to prevent this.
And then we stop running.
After the run, our skin remains cool and our bodies aren’t producing as much heat. The core temperature is lower and should go back to “normal” or that resting temperature of about 98.6 degrees.
But depending on height, weight, and BMI some people might have faster heat loss after their body temperature comes down. So the body’s natural mechanisms to fight the cold kick in including the chills. This is especially the case after being wet and cold, a signal to the body to prevent hypothermia.
Ways To Warm Up After A Cold Run
Staying cold post run is just the body’s way of protecting itself in a sense. It just means it’s working to get that core temperature up and needs a little help doing so. Those who find themselves cold after they come home from a run can use these ways to get warm after,
Take Your Clothes Off
One of the best ways to help warm up after these freezing cold runs is to take off those sweaty and wet clothes immediately. One of the best ideas is to always keep a spare shirt and sweater/jacket in the winter. That way after the run the runner can just change their shirt and prevent being damp and chilly.
Racers save their free race shirt for this very reason when participating in an event.
If you forget a change of shirt or don’t feel comfortable to do so in public make sure to change upon getting home. It’s tempting to eat or at least have a hot cup of coffee, but head right to the bathroom and get those clothes off.
Take A Warm Shower
Following up after this tip is to go ahead and enjoy that warm shower. Nothing feels better than having the steam going and slightly hot water hitting the skin to warm our chilled bones. Take a nice relaxing warm shower or bath and soak in the good vibes post runs.
Drink Something Hot
After getting so fresh and so clean, continue to bring on the toasty-ness by drinking something hot. This helps to warm the body up from the inside, and there is nothing better than a hot cup of herbal tea or better yet a cup of coffee after that early morning run.
Put on those warm, fuzzy socks and an oversized sweater and curl up on the couch with a blanket and a book. A nice, long run followed by an afternoon of relaxing is the ideal weekend day for this runner. But those who need to go to work, school, or just be out and about, bundling up is key. Make sure to properly dress for traveling and being outside. That means not forgetting the hat, scarf, and gloves.
Get Moving Again
Another way to keep warm post run is to continue to move around the rest of the day. Keep the blood flowing by running errands or doing things around the house. Cooking next to a warm oven is a great idea or walking around the mall. Even stretching or some yoga is beneficial—and for post-run recovery as well.
Remember to keep the head and feet warm post run so invest in some cozy slippers and don’t leave hair wet after the shower.