WINTER RUNNING GUIDELINES
Due to the cold and inclement weather conditions that are often associated with track season, please review the following winter running guidelines that Jones College Prep Cross Country/Track and Field abides by. The following guidelines were compiled using expert sources from both the sport and medical field. The majority of principles that our program has adopted are derived from guidelines set forth by The Mayo Clinic and Dr. Stephen M. Pribut, a world renowned sports medicine podiatrist and running health expert who is on the Advisory Board of Runners’s World magazine.
As such, we ask you to please defer to the expert guidelines on the subject and respect the coaching staff’s discretion as related to decisions regarding safety and winter running.
As is the policy on many college and high school teams, distance runners will always run outside if it is 10° Fahrenheit or warmer while discretion will be used within the 5°-10° range based on factors such as wind chill. Guidelines for sprint athletes will vary given that the nature of their workouts sometimes requires even warmer temperatures. If the temperature does fall below 5°, mid-distance and distance runners will still be expected to attend practice that will be held indoors. The weather conditions will be checked (using weather.com) by the coaching staff throughout the day, as well as at the beginning of practice time, in order to make a decision based on outdoor running. Also, please note that a formal wind index chart will be consulted to ensure that the wind chill factor is safe to practice outdoors in as well. While the air temperature may be above the 10° mark the coaching staff may still prevent outdoor practice depending on the wind chill. Again, please defer to the responsible expertise of the coaching staff.
According to Mayo Clinic guidelines, “almost everyone can exercise safely during cold weather,” as long as proper precautions are taken. It is also important to note, according to Dr. Pribut, that during the act of running an athlete’s body temperature will raise and feel as much as 20°warmer.
All athletes are expected to be prepared with proper dress at all times throughout the winter. An athlete who is not properly dressed may be prevented from practicing outdoors, which will result in an unexcused absence. The proper preparation in terms of dress is the most important defense against cold weather conditions.
As a guideline, runners typically need three layers of clothing during cold weather runs: (1) a base layer that absorbs perspiration and transports it away from the body, (2) a middle layer that serves as a heat insulator to keep you warm, and (3) a top layer that protects you from any weather, such as wind, snow, rain, etc.
The most important requirement is a hat and gloves. The highest percentage of heat escapes through extremities such as your head and hands, thus, covering these up with adequate protection is vital to staying warm and safe through the winter months. Protecting your hands with a quality pair of gloves will also prevent possible frostbite. On the coldest of days, all athletes will be required to have all of their skin covered, with the exception of a small portion of their face.
We ask for your respect in regards to weather related decisions. The athlete’s safety and well-being is always the number one priority and we fully trust the knowledge and experience of our coaching staff when making such decisions. In the case of a CPS district wide cancellation of all sporting functions, such a mandate will be respected and practice/competitions at the school level will be cancelled. Please also visit our team website for additional resources in regards to cold weather training and safety guidelines.
Sources: “Mayo Clinic: Exercise and Cold Weather”; “Running in the Cold,” Pribut, Dr. Stephen