Thinking about jogging in Saskatchewan’s -30? Here’s what you need to know

While many in Saskatoon bundled up at home this weekend as the polar vortex paralyzed the Prairies, Harvey Weber was going out for a run.

Weber, an avid runner and head coach at Saskatoon’s Running Wild Athletics Club, has been pounding the pavement during Saskatchewan winters for years.

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“I like challenging the elements,” laughs Weber. “Getting out there and saying ‘I’m going to do a 30-minute jog’ that’s a great accomplishment.”

Relief from extreme cold conditions days away: Feb. 9 Saskatchewan weather outlook

Relief from extreme cold conditions days away: Feb. 9 Saskatchewan weather outlook

Being out in -30 C doesn’t appear to phase Weber as he takes Global News along a path on the Meewasin trail.

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“As long as you’re prepared and you have the right, proper clothing you can run basically all winter.”

He said despite the cold, he’s noticed a lot more people getting outdoors amid the pandemic. However, with negative double-digit temperatures, going for a run isn’t as simple as throwing on shoes and going out the door.

Layer up, wear mitts

Phil Chilibeck is a professor of kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. He said what you wear is important.

“Make sure that you have a really warm pair of mitts – mitts are better than gloves,” he said, adding runners should also don warm socks to prevent frostbite.

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Another key — instead of wearing one big coat, he suggests layering clothes.

“The layers will trap air between them and that acts as insulation,” Chilibeck explained.

“You might want to wear two or three layers of either a shirt with two sweat tops so the layers are better.”

Wearing a face covering such as a balaclava can also help keep you warm, and warm the air you’re breathing while you run, Chilibeck said.

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Click to play video 'Outdoor workers bundle up to deal with the extreme cold weather'

Outdoor workers bundle up to deal with the extreme cold weather

Outdoor workers bundle up to deal with the extreme cold weather

Plan, plan, plan

While the cold is a challenge, another hazard is wind. Both Chilibeck and Weber suggest running into the wind first, then running with it at your back on your route home.

“If you’re running with the wind you won’t realize how cold it is,” explained Weber. “Then you’re coming back, it’s like ‘Wow I’m now extremely cold.’”

He said another trick to reduce your exposure to the wind is planning your route ahead of time. “For example today the wind is blowing from the west, so use the buildings and the riverbank to protect you,” he said.

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For people who don’t jog or exercise on a regular basis but want to get into winter jogging, Chilibeck suggests starting with short runs, early in the season.

“The best thing to do is start right through the fall,” said Weber.

“Keep running. Your body’s going to adapt to how many layers you need, what you need to do. If you thought all of a sudden ‘I’m going to start running in the middle of the winter’ you don’t really prepare yourself for it.”

Weber said he’s been excited to see more people on city sidewalks and trails even through the bitter cold.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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