Seven Winter Running Tips

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.

Lay­er Appropriately
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.