Winter Running : 5 tips to make the most of it
January 31, 2022 - By Mélika Ben Yedder
Running is a very popular sport. At any time, it is possible to jump on the bandwagon. If this is the case for you, I invite you to read the article by Karine Larose, “Getting started with running: how to do it?”. If you already run during the warmer seasons, you might be tempted to run outside during the winter in order to continue to reap all its benefits.
Running outside during the winter season does come with its own set of questions. There are several aspects to consider, such as:
- The risk of falling due to the surface which can be slippery.
- Also, the impact of the cold temperature on the body is something else to keep in mind, especially since winter temperatures can vary, going from pleasant to piercing cold in just hours.
- And let’s not forget, the proper equipment to be used, which differs from the one used by runners during the summer.
In short, it is normal to have several questions about winter running before getting started. Here are my 5 tips to guide you and make your outdoor running outings during the winter even more pleasant and safe!
1- Choose a safe route
Exterior surfaces are subject to change during the winter. Ideally, choose a known running route and one that does not stray too far from your home. Many runners will tell you that they prefer to run in a loop near the house during the winter instead of going for long distances. Thus, to drink water or change a wet garment, a quick stop at home can be practical.
2- Revise your objective downwards
As running outdoors in the winter comes with different challenges, it is suggested to scale down your goal a bit and adapt it according to the weather conditions. For example, expect to reduce your speed and perhaps also your distance traveled, because the effort felt during the winter is higher, and therefore more demanding. Choose to be flexible in your training schedule and intensity depending on the outside temperature. If the weather isn’t good, simply postpone your race outing to the next day.
3-Do a longer warm-up
The warm-up period serves to prepare your body for the physical activity to come. In this sense, it would be interesting to do your warm-up outside in order to adapt to the temperature. In addition, it may be a good idea to extend the duration of your warm-up a little to give your body and your breathing time to adapt. This will reduce the risk of injury as well as burning sensations and irritation in the throat during your run.
4- Decrease your pace
It is recommended to increase your step frequency and decrease your stride. This will have the impact of increasing your stability on the ground and reducing the risk of falling, if the surface is slippery. Also keep your hands free so that they are available in case of a fall (avoid having the cell phone in hand).
5- Adapt your equipment:
It is recommended to wear several layers of clothing rather than a single warm coat. Indeed, the humidity of your clothes combined with the cold outside increases the risk of hypothermia. Ideally, wear a first layer to wick away moisture and keep you dry (polyester or merino wool garment), then a second insulating layer to keep you warm (down-filled garment, for example) and a third layer such as windbreaker to protect you from wind and weather.
Wearing specific shoes suitable for winter is not a must, but it is important to consider since slippery surfaces increase the risk of falling and therefore of injury. It is possible to wear your usual running shoes if the ground is not too slippery and if you feel that your feet can stay dry enough. There are, of course, adapted shoes that are more breathable or even running shoes with cleats.
In addition, wearing gloves or mittens (mittens are preferred in very cold weather), a headband that covers the ears, a toque and, if possible, a neck warmer would be a good idea! Covering all parts of the body is essential to reduce the risk of frostbite.
Finally, winter often rhymes with more darkness. Make sure you are clearly visible to motorists if you are running on the edge of the street. Clothing with reflective elements or a headlamp are excellent solutions.
I hope these tips will make you want to try winter running if you haven’t done so already. If you’re already an adept winter runner, I hope my tips will help improve your comfort level and enjoyment.
Good training !
Winter Running : 5 tips to make the most of it is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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