It may be tempting to skip your runs during colder weather, but this is actually the perfect time to get outdoors and take off. You just have to be prepared for cold weather running.
Use the Right Gear
Winter running means you’ll start off cold and warm up as you go, so the clothing you wear needs to be lightweight, but also protective enough to adjust with you. If it’s raining or snowing you’ll want to have a good waterproof running jacket. You also need to ensure your running shoes have plenty of traction for potentially slippery conditions.
Keep Extremities Warm
While your torso will tend to remain toasty warm as you run (it’s recommended you dress for 10°C warmer than it actually is), your hands and feet may not. Your body pulls the blood supply to your core to keep vital organs warm, which means your extremities can be chilled even if you feel great.
To combat this, you should wear gloves and a hat or ear warmers. Good socks are also important so your body stays cooler while your feet and hands are still warm.
Dehydration is still a possibility in the winter. Just because you’re out in the cold doesn’t mean you can keep running without drinking. You’ll find that you still sweat and go through the liquid in your body. Take water with you and keep sipping as you run. You may want to keep lukewarm water in a thermos to prevent it from getting too cold.
In the winter, it gets dark much earlier and you may find yourself running in the dark. To ensure you’re as safe as possible, invest in high-visibility clothing. You may also want to attach a blinking light to your jacket or shoes so drivers can easily see you as you run beside the road. Even reflective tape can instantly make you leap out of the darkness for a car.
Warm-Up Before You Go
To help your body adjust to the difference in temperature and to ensure you don’t unnecessarily pull a muscle, warming up is a must. Take the time to stretch and jog in place before you leave the house.
It’s just as important to cool down once you’ve returned home. You may be tempted to go take a hot shower once you’re back from your run, but it’s best to stretch it all out before you do so. You don’t want to risk injury because you didn’t take the time to stretch.
There’s no good reason to skip running in the winter, but you do need to take some extra precautions. Make sure you have a good stretch before and after and don the right gear for the task. Then you can head out and get your exercise in, without resorting to a treadmill.
Are you in need of more winter running tips? Head over to VeloRunner to get started.