winter running

Photo credit: 123RF / maridav

Winter is here with shorter days and colder weather. If you’re a runner, winter weather doesn’t mean you need to store your running shoes until warmer weather. You can still run with a few changes to your regular running routine. Here are some key strategies to help make your winter running routine more effective and comfortable.

  1. Set a specific goal. It’s hard to stay motivated to run during colder weather. When you set a goal like running a 5K in the March or April, you can stay motivated to keep training.
  2. Dress for the weather and running. Winter running means you’ll want to dress in layers to stay warm. But you don’t want to overdress and risk overheating or sweating excessively. Therefore, dress for 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the temperature actually is. That’ll allow your body temperature to increase as you run. Wear a layer that blocks the winds and wicks away moisture from your skin. Add a loose mid-layer like fleece for especially cold days. For the outer layer, wear a running jacket, hat or headband, gloves and tights.
  3. Wear the right socks. Wear socks that wick away moisture and keep your feet warm. Layer on wool socks to keep your feet warm. If it’s raining or slushy, you may even want to consider wearing plastic baggies over your socks.
  4. Wear the right shoes that fit. Depending on the weather, wear road shoes in milder temperatures, shoes with Gore-Tex uppers for wet weather or trail shoes for a little added traction. For snowy or icy conditions, you may want to add a traction device like Yak Trax or Stabilicers. Refer to the WalkEZStore’s Shoe Fitting Guide to learn how to properly fit your shoes for the best comfort.
  5. Adjust your running stride. Keep your feet lower to the ground and shorten your stride to reduce slipping or falling.
  6. winter running

    Photo credit: 123RF / Jozef Polc

    Be seen. Run during daylight hours, whenever possible. But if it’s dark outside, wear reflective gear, so cars and other people can see you. If it’s snowing, wear brightly colored clothing, so you can be seen against the white background.

  7. Take extra time to warm up. Walk briskly for 5 minutes before you start to run. Realize it may take 10 to 15 minutes before you’re adequately warmed up.
  8. Stay hydrated. During a winter run, you may not realize how much you’re sweating, so it’s important to keep hydrated. Drink water or warm beverages often.
  9. Run into the wind. By starting your run into the wind, you’ll have the wind to your back on your return, which will help you from getting chilled since you’ll likely be sweating.
  10. Post-run change your clothes quickly. To keep from getting chilled, change your clothes as soon as you can. Towel dry hair or put on a dry hat. And drink something hot to warm you up.

Hopefully by following these winter running tips, you’ll keep training throughout the winter month and continue to enjoy your winter runs.

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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.