Winter Running Tips
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Tips for Winter Running
If you are like me, then you would rather bundle up and run outside then run on a treadmill for any amount of mileage or training run. I really only try to use the treadmill as a last resort to run. The purpose of this post is to provide information to make those cold winter runs a little easier.
If you are going to brave the cold, here are a few tips you should follow.
1. Proper Apparel
If you are running outside during the winter, then you need to have the right apparel. I recommend layering up and making sure you have a jacket that is windproof and breathable. The current jackets that I wear are the North Face Apex Lite Jacket and the Nike Element Shield jacket. These great jackets keep me warm and dry in almost any conditions. A few other items I suggest are merino wool socks, warm gloves, a soft shell beanie, and a gaiter to keep your neck warm on those cold days. I also recommend bringing hand warmers if you are going on a longer run. You never know when you may need them. One thing to note is that you should dress for temps that are 15-20 degrees warmer than the feel like temp. I always try running into the wind first as running into the wind on the second half of a run is not fun when you are sweaty and tired.
2. Run with friends or group
If you are heading out on a long run this winter, I always try running with friends or a local running group. Not only does it help the time go by, but it’s also great to have people around if you slip or fall. A few winters ago, I planted in a snow-covered pothole and twisted my ankle. I ended up having to slowly walk home, which was a few miles. If I was with others or had my phone, I would have been able to get home easier. Check Facebook or your local running store to find local running groups.
3. Run during the day
One of the tough things about winter running is the reduced amount of daylight hours. If you have the time, run during the day, I highly recommend it. Not only is it normally a few degrees warmer (with sun), but it allows for improved visibility, ability to run on trails, and easier for others to see you. Running at lunch would be ideal, but I typically end up running after works, which means I normally run at night. If you can’t run during the day, make sure you have lights and/or a reflective vest so that cars and others can easily see you. Run as if people can’t see you and always move to the side of the road when you are running into oncoming traffic. If you don’t have a Road ID, you should definitely get one. Could be a lifesaver for $15.
Related Post: Tips for running at night
4. Warm up properly
Running in winter weather is a shock to the body and mind. Snow, wind, and temps in the single digits mean you need to change how you warm up so that your body is ready to move when you start running. Before I head out in the cold, I usually put all my running gear on and do a few lunges or other dynamic stretches to get the blood flowing. It may take 5 to 15 minutes for your body to fully warm up once you start running outside.
Learn More: Dynamic Stretching Information
5. Be smart
If the weather is absolutely terrible and running outside would jeopardize your safety, be smart and run on a treadmill or ride the bike trainer. If you run on a trail or snow-covered road, I recommend picking up a pair of Yaktrax. These easy to use shoe covers provide more traction on snowy or icy surfaces.