Ah, the joys of winter running. The days get shorter. Temperatures plummet. Wind stings your face. Air burns your lungs. Joints ache. Feet freeze. Lactic acid feels twice as potent. Running in the winter isn’t pretty. It normally isn’t even fun. But, if you want to maintain your training progress, it’s necessary. Some runners live for this, so for those who aren’t pumped about freezing off your extremities, these 7 tips will help you come out intact.
Warm Up Inside
A pre-run warm-up is always important for efficiency and injury prevention, and running in cold weather makes warming-up up even more crucial. In cold conditions, warming-up outside may cause more harm than good. When the temperatures drop, replace your normal jogging warm-up with a modified indoor warm-up. Yoga, dynamic stretching, jumping rope, and light stair-climbing all increase blood flow and serve as effective indoor warm-ups.
Wear the Right Footwear
Keeping your feet dry in the winter is especially important. Rain, snow, slush, and sweat can all soak your socks. Ideally, the shoe should have some waterproof qualities but the sock is equally as important. While warmth is obviously a significant factor in a winter running sock, it is not the only factor. Choosing a sock that is too warm will cause excess sweat, which may be problematic. Ideally, you want to run in a medium-weight, warm sock with moisture wicking qualities.
Again, winter running is all about sweat management. You don’t want to be drenched in sweat when you’re running around in freezing temperatures. You should be a little cool when you start running so that you don’t overheat at the peak of your workout. Wear layers that can be easily removed, modified, and carried during the workout. Moisture-wicking cold gear and ventilated outer jackets are great for warmth and sweat management.
Watch the Weather
A patch of black ice or a bout of freezing rain can be devastating, so winter runners need to be especially conscious of changing weather conditions. Check the weather before your workout and prepare for the conditions. Watch the clouds to spot incoming rain or snow and be conscious of ice, especially when rounding corners.
Skip Speed Work
Unless you’re running indoors, interval training in the dead of winter is asking for an injury. For most runners, winter training should be focused on maintenance and injury prevention rather than speed gains.
Stand Out in the Dark
Add shorter days to the list of winter running hazards. Runners working a standard workday will likely have to run in the dark. Reflective gear and bright colors can mitigate the risks of nighttime running.
Get Out of Wet Clothes
By now, it should be clear that moisture is the bane of winter runners. To avoid illness, change out of wet clothes immediately after your workout. Post-run stretches should be performed indoors in dry clothes.