It's cold outside. Don't forget
to drink! What? Isn't hydration a hot weather concern? It can be
easy to forget, but you lose a lot of water when it's cold too.
Cold, winter air is dryer than warm, summer air. Nature likes a
balance, so that dry air sucks more moisture from your body.
That steam rising from your forehead after a run, that's
moisture evaporating from your skin. That mist when you exhale,
that's moisture getting sucked out of your lungs. Your dry nose,
mouth and skin in the winter, that's the result of dry air
sucking moisture from your body. You need to replace that water
Also, when you bundle up from the cold, your body is sweating
underneath those layers. If you're wearing tech fabrics, that
moisture is being pulled away from your skin and evaporating in
the cold, dry air.
Her are a few tips to manage your hydration when it's really
If you're using a hydration bladder and tube system, run the
tube inside your outer layer and, more importantly, keep the
bite valve inside clothing to keep them from freezing. If the
bite valve does freeze, rub it between your hands, or put it
next to your warm skin, covered by clothes, until it melts. You may need to take frequent,
small sips to keep the valve from freezing.
If you're using a bottle and hip pack, put the bottle in upside
down. This helps insulate the opening from bitter cold. Be aware
that if you're snowshoeing, you may be kicking snow up your back
and into your bottle holder. In this case, even an upside down
bottle will freeze. So, pull your jacket over the top of the hip
belt to keep the snow out. If it does freeze, you can pour water
from the bottle (perhaps cold, but presumably unfrozen) over it
to break up the ice. If necessary, you can hold the opening in
your warm mouth until it starts to flow. If you're carrying a
handheld bottle, it may be necessary to take frequent, small
sips to keep the opening from freezing.
Sports drinks tend to have a lower freezing temperature than
plain water. Even something like mixing a gel in your water
bottle can help keep it from freezing.
Don't let the cold air fool you. It's dry and sucks the moisture
right out of you. Remember to hydrate well to keep your runs fun
and races successful.