Winter can be a cruel time for those of us who love to run. The idea of bundling up and running in the snow and cold often leaves us longing for spring when we can don our favourite running gear and hit those streets or trails once again. But, you don’t necessarily have to trade the streets for the treadmill at the gym when that cold weather hits. With a bit of preparation and smart thinking, you can keep your love of running all winter long.
Wear Appropriate Shoes
Hang up those mesh running shoes and invest in a pair of shoes designed for winter running. They will give you that much needed traction and will keep your feet warmer.
Wear Proper Clothing
The key to successfully keeping your running routine in winter is to make sure you layer your clothing. Start with tights that are either a silk, polyester blend or Marino wool. In very cold or windy weather, wear these under loose fitting running pants.
Wear a high tech, long sleeve t-shirt as your first layer. Many sports clothing companies have developed shirts specifically for cold weather wear. They will keep you warn while wicking away the sweat.
Wear a warm jacket over your shirt that keeps the wind out.
We lose most of our heat through our heads so make sure you are wearing a running cap or a comfortable toque.
Wear mittens rather than gloves.
It gets dark earlier in the winter months. Make sure you are wearing some reflective clothing so you can be seen.
Make Sure You Are Warmed Up
Adjusting to the cold may mean you need to take a bit longer to warm up. Try to do some warmup exercises before you head out and start your run slowly giving your muscles time to adjust. Don’t try to do intensive training as you run a higher risk of pulling muscles in cold weather. Save your hard training for the treadmill.
Stay Close to Home
Map out a route that keeps you close to home. Do loops rather than a long route. This way, if you do get too cold, you will be easily able to bail on your run.
You may not feel as thirsty in colder weather but it is equally important to keep hydrated. Keep your water bottle inside your coat so it doesn’t get too cold.
Cover Your Mouth and Face in Colder Weather
Contrary to popular belief, your lungs will not freeze in very cold weather. You can, however, risk frostbite on your face and nose so cover your face in very cold weather. Pay attention to your ears too.
Change Your Stride
Don’t try to run as hard as you would in the summer and pay attention to the terrain. Shorter strides will make you more fleet of foot when running on icy surfaces.
Listen to your Body
Do not risk frost bite. If any part of your body starts to feel numb, end your run.
With a bit of planning and some common sense, you can get through the long winter enjoying your love of running.