As the temperature dips, if you’re someone who still gets excited at the thought of going for a run outdoors, before you lace up your shoes it’s important to take a few factors into consideration.
Running outdoors in colder weather does call for some safety precautions so you can be sure you both enjoy that run and get the best benefits from it. By learning the strategies that you should know for running in cold weather you can keep up with your usual workout sessions all winter long without having to succumb to dull treadmill runs.
Let’s go over the main factors that you need to know about.
Utilize Proper Layering
The very first ‘must-do’ when running in colder weather is to make sure that you’re layering your clothing properly. One big mistake that some runners make is thinking that they’ll just warm up once they get out there.
They start off their run in far less clothing than they ideally should be wearing to maintain a proper core body temperature and then not only feel uncomfortable but struggle to warm up because of rapid body heat loss.
Instead, choose three or four light layers of clothing to wear when you head out. This easily allows you to remove the layering as you progress throughout the run and find your body temperature increasing further and further.
You can always take layers off but once you’re out there, you can’t make a warmer layer vanish from thin air. Be prepared with enough clothing from the start.
Stay Well Hydrated
Another big mistake that’s often made when running outdoors is failing to stay hydrated. When it’s the summer months and the heat is on, you’ll easily be able to feel your body sweating, which then prompts you to rehydrate well with water or your choice of sports beverage.
But, when it’s cooler and you don’t feel those beads of sweat dripping off your forehead like you do in the heat, you may not think to take in as much fluid.
While running in the heat will slightly increase your need for hydration, you will still need to continually be consuming liquid even while running outdoors.
Don’t let yourself neglect this. Ideally you should aim to drink smaller amounts of water while running and then also make sure to have a full eight to sixteen ounces of fluid upon finishing to help restore ideal hydration.
One smart technique that you’ll want to utilize when running outside in cold weather is to consider doing your warm-up indoors. Since heading out to the biting cold weather when the body is already cold will just increase the time it takes you to get warm and see good blood circulation, by warming up in a heated environment you get over this problem.
The muscles in the body will be much less flexible in cold temperatures and you’ll be more prone to injury so increase your body temperature and range of motion prior to entering the cold. This will go a long way towards preventing that very uncomfortable cold start to all of your runs.
Some simple jogging along with some arm and leg swings will do the trick perfectly to get your blood flowing and prepare the body for exercise.
Use Good Footwear
As the streets get icy, it’s also going to be essential that you wear proper footwear for your run. Look into a variety of different running shoe options and be sure to choose footwear that has both a good support system as well as plenty of traction on the sole.
It’s very likely that you’ll encounter both ice as well as packed snow on your pathway so you must be able to combat these will good footwear.
Consider Your Track Carefully
Finally, the last must-do when you decide to pursue running in the winter is to make sure you plan your track carefully. Unless you’re very experienced with running in cold and possibly snowy conditions, you’ll want to stay on the road as much as possible as this will be your most even and safe terrain.
If you were to move off the road and into trail running the chances of twisting an ankle due to uneven terrain become a great deal higher so you’ll want to be sure to avoid this. If you’re just dealing with a light snowfall (or no snow at all) then you can keep up your trail running, but if the snow is more than a few inches in any areas, stick to the streets.
So there you have the main factors to consider when running outdoors this winter. If you stay safe while you do it and be sure you’re fully prepared to handle the cooler climate you should have no problem enjoying each of your runs and maintaining your fitness level right through to the spring season.