Runners begin to feel effects of cold temperatures

Fall is a great time to run outside. The leaves change colors, the humidity is down, and the weather is not too hot. However, runners will not have pristine, autumn conditions, as the forecast is about to change dramatically.

The official start of fall is not until September 23, but low temperatures throughout the northeast are starting to worry the runners of the Hudson Valley.

Treadmills at a local gym.

Treadmills at a local gym.

“It’s been surprisingly cold out for September. I was wearing a T-shirt a week ago, and now I can’t walk outside without putting on a sweatshirt,” said Zachary Furman, a Putnam County resident. “Pretty soon, I’m going to have to break out my winter cap if the cold weather continues.”

Unfortunately for runners like Zachary, chilly temperatures might be here to stay. The 2014 Farmers’ Almanac predicts that most of the country east of the Rocky Mountains will have a cold and wet winter. Despite being around for over 198 years, the Farmers’ Almanac continues to be a trusted source for weather, as it correctly predicted the nasty winter of 2013-2014.

One of the reasons behind the cooler temperatures is the return of the polar vortex. According to Kristen Rodman of AccuWeather.com, the polar vortex might return for “short, sporadic periods in September.” This is not a good sign for those who believed this winter would be warmer than last year.

The nights and early morning have been the coldest parts of the day so far. Temperatures have reached the upper 30s and low 40s and have shown no signs of improving. Those people who expect to go on a run at these times are in store for brisk winds and cold air.

“I love to run outside. It helps me clear my mind before starting my day,” said Putnam County resident Louis Fusco. “However, I was not expecting this cold weather so early. I thought I would enjoy some warmer weather that carried over from summer. Boy, was I wrong.”

Although it is not winter yet, running in cold conditions can be dangerous to the human body. The heart has to work faster because it has to pump blood throughout the body in order to keep warm. Dehydration is a possibility because lower temperatures increase urine output, which diminishes thirst. Wearing more clothing is used as a way to keep warm, but can cause the body to sweat more, losing water with every drop.

There are solutions to running in cold weather. The most basic alternative is to not run outside at all. Running on the treadmill is a great way to exercise without all of the outdoor conditions. Riding indoor bicycles and rowing machines are also successful ways of exercising indoors.

However, joining a gym is not always the easiest solution. Gyms can range anymore from $10 to over $100, depending on where it is located. Also, not everyone is a fan of running on a treadmill. A treadmill is stationary and some runners would like more of a challenge from the outside terrain.

For runners like Jon Concepcion, running indoors is a last resort.

“Part of the reasons why I run outdoors is to see the scenery as well as get some fresh air. When you run on a treadmill, you do not have those things available. That is why I only run inside if it is snowing out. Other than that, I brave the conditions and run in the cold,” Concepcion said.

If the weather continues to get colder in the next couple of weeks, runners are going to have to make a choice on where to exercise. For now, it seems that they are trying to enjoy the rest of September.

“It’s cold out, but it’s not freezing,” Concepcion said. “I’m just going to take it day by day and go from there.”

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