Tips for barefoot running in cold weather

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Janne, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Janne

    Janne
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    Hey!

    I do part of my commute by running mostly barefoot. Now temperatures are dropping on this part of the earth and I need to put shoes/sandals as the ball of my feet start to complain. I got a nice blister this summer when running on hot weather and I got the same feeling when running on cold asphalt (5C). I'd be happy to avoid any kind of temperature injury.

    I found this thread https://www.thebarefootrunners.org/threads/barefoot-cool-days.21523 but I guess my predicament is more about the transition.

    I try to follow the relax advice as much as I can, take it as easy as possible and small and frequent steps. What are your experiences when temperature drops? Any kind of advice to improve barefoot distance? How do you guys test your limits for a sustainable running experience? I mean excluding challenges.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Gordon

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    What works best for me is the gradual adaptation that happens as the weather cools in the fall. I just keep going at it. What's mildly uncomfortable in the early fall is balmy late in the fall. I find that it's not air temperature that's the big problem, but the temperature of the ground. -5C in the fall when the ground is warm is more comfortable than 5C in the winter when the ground is frozen hard. Overdressing is important. I wear an extra layer top and bottom when I'm barefoot as compared to shod. The key thing to watch when you're exploring your limits is the color of your toes. As long as they're pink, you're good. If they turn white, you're not. When I was shod, I had horrible problems in the winter with cold feet. Now they're like little furnaces, so I've definitely adapted a bit. I still can't go as low as some folks.

    Edit to add: When you come indoors with cold toes make sure to let them warm up gradually. Warming them too quickly can lead to chillblains. Once you get chillblains, your feet will be much more sensitive to cold and you're likely to get them again, even at higher temperatures. Ask me how I know that. :) 5k at -10C in 15cm of fresh snow was too much by quite a lot. Fresh snow really sucks the heat from your feet.
     
    #2 Gordon, Sep 21, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  3. BareFootBC

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    I’m looking forward to experiencing/adapting to the changes of the season. The weather man is calling for snow this weekend so I’m curious as to how I’ll fare on my walks to n’ from work.

    Gordon- my feet have become minifurnaces as well, hoping that expands tolerance and capabilities...
     
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  4. Acorn63

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    And overdressing your legs is essential, so you get enough warm blood flowing in your feet. Not much first hand experience; it was mentioned in some book, but sounds logic enough to me.
     
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  5. BareFootBC

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    Overdressing Legs- something to contemplate. It makes a kind of sense to keep the lower extremities warmer so warm blood gets to the toes. I’m still doing okay in shorts at -5C. Have been alternating between barefoot and five toes as I’m adapting. Quickly relearned wet/cold conditions are more five toe oriented but dry/cold barefoot is doable.

    Had to laugh when my wife showed me a text picture that one of her friends sons took of my footprints in the mud a couple of days ago- he was impressed I was still shoeless at -2C.
     
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    #5 BareFootBC, Sep 30, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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  6. Tristan

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    Keep the core a tad on the warm side by overdressing, more so on the legs. I also wear ankle warmers... old socks that get holes go into my running drawer... I cut the toe end off so it basically is a tube and I double it up around the ankle (also hand for arm sleeves, calf sleeves etc). It helps a little. Avoid wet/windy days (especially wet snow). And make sure you adjust to the temperature gradually, just a few degrees difference. If the temperature where to drop from 50F as your coolest run to 32F the next day, I'd skip running that day or run in minimalist shoes. You need to ease into it. Also if you're going very far and its close to or below freezing I'd carry a backup pair of shoes and socks, I use an old hydration pack with the bladder removed for carrying backup footwear in winter, its a very tiny pack just the right size. If your feet start to freeze and you're a few miles away from anything you'll want to get them warmed up. Frostbite is not a good thing and if you get it, can make your feet more sensitive to cold in the future. Kind of happened to me, and the last winter or two my tolerance to the cold has diminished. I love the winter and living in the north (I grew up where snow storms were usually measured in multiple feet) but it sure kills barefoot running for me for much of the coldest couple months of winter. Oh and when checking the forecast, pay more attention to the wind chill or 'feels like' numbers, as that is what it will feel like on bare exposed skin. And be mindful of ground temperatures too, you don't need to buy an infrared temp gun (though they are handy for many things) but realize if it was really cold the day before/overnight and warmed up a little today that the ground might still be colder than you think. Good luck!
     
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  7. Janne

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    Thank you all for your replies. I look forward to getting better at running on cold weather. I live in a city where winter is around 0C which means ice, snow and water changing quite often so it's going to be interesting :D
     
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