5 Winter Running Tips
The winter weather shouldn’t stop you from running outside, but running in the colder months is a little different from doing it in the summer. There are several things you need to do to adapt to the seasonal changes. Here are a few tips.
1) Stay Visible
The most important thing to keep in mind when running in the winter is that you must keep yourself visible in the dark. There are fewer daylight hours in the colder months so it’s likely that you’ll be doing some running in the dark. For your own safety, make sure you wear bright clothing and at least one piece of reflective or neon-coloured gear that will allow you to be seen from a distance. Try to stick to well-lit areas as much as you can.
2) Dress for the Cold
Layering up is the most sensible way to dress for a winter run. Just make sure you keep those layers light as heavy clothes will weigh you down and make running more difficult. Your base layer should be a lightweight top – ideally made from technical running fabric which will draw sweat away rather than staying wet – and a pair of leggings or running tights. The next layer depends on the weather, but lightweight fleeces or jackets, shorts or tracksuit bottoms, a hat, a fleece headband and gloves are all options.
3) Warm Up and Cool Down
A good warm-up routine becomes particularly important in the winter because it takes a little longer for your body to warm up. Stepping out into the cold with tight muscles increases your risk of injury and soreness, so take the time to prepare your muscles by warming up properly. This may mean marching on the spot, doing some knee lifts, side stepping or simply doing some brisk walking before you begin your run. Remember to cool down at the end of your run too by slowing down to a light jog or walking for five to ten minutes, which will help your body recover.
4) Stay Hydrated
While your winter runs may not be as sweaty as your summer ones, you’ll still be losing liquids so it’s just as important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water both before and after your run – even if you’re not thirsty – to prevent your body from becoming parched. If you fail to give your body enough fluids, it will only lead to cramps, headaches and fatigue.
5) Assess the Weather
In some winter weather conditions, it’s best not to go running outside at all. If the pavement is icy, you should give your run a miss and exercise indoors instead until it’s safer to run outside.
The winter weather may make you feel a little less motivated to go running, but if running is usually a part of your exercise regime you should try to stick with it. As long as you take the necessary steps to keep yourself safe, hydrated and warm enough, you’ll find running in the winter just as satisfying as it is any other time of the year.