Winter Running Guide: 5 Tips for Running in the Cold

There are few things as unpleasant as running in extreme temperatures. The cold can quickly turn running - an enjoyable, stress-relieving activity - into an hour of discomfort if you do not prepare for the temperatures properly. Before you retire your running shoes for the winter and plug up your treadmill, know that it is possible to run comfortably in the winter! To help you get started, here are 5 tips for running in the cold. 

Warm up indoors

Before you lace up your sneakers and head outside, do a quick warmup indoors. This will get your heart pumping and raise your core body temperature so that you aren’t as cold when you walk outside. This is also a good way to prepare your body for a run to help reduce injuries. You can try everything for doing some chores and cleaning up to jumping rope to get your body ready for the run. 

Change your timing

While a 6am run may be refreshing and rejuvenating in the summer, you may not want to try that in the winter where early morning temperatures can be well below freezing. Instead, try to plan your run for the warmest part of the day. In most regions, you can expect to reach the daily high between 1pm and 4pm. 

Prep your feet

The only thing worse than running through a puddle and getting your feet wet is running through a puddle and getting your feet wet when it’s freezing outside. The best way to do this is by wearing shoes with little to no mesh and thick wool socks. You can also try slipping your feet into plastic bags before putting your shoes on - keeping your feet dry even if your shoes aren’t. After your run, if you find that your sneakers are wet and you want them to dry quicker, you can place newspapers inside to help absorb moisture. 

Dress warm but don’t bundle up

When facing the brutal winter winds, it may seem like a good idea to bundle up tightly. While this is a good idea for a gentle stroll, if you become too hot while running, you’ll quickly face the consequences once a chill sets in. Instead, try to dress as if it is 10 to 20 degrees warmer. You’ll start out cool, but, as you run and heat up, you’ll find that you warm up quickly. Sweat wicking and athletic fibers are also important. 

Stay safe and visible

Sunlight will be scarce in the winter, so it’s important that you take into account the extra hours of darkness and dress appropriately so that you can be seen at all times. While it may be a little embarrassing at first, it’s better to feel silly dressed in bright clothing or wearing a headlamp than it is to get into a traffic accident because the driver couldn’t see you. Stay on sidewalks or in designated pedestrian lanes, and try to stay in public, well-lit areas when possible.


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