During the cold winter months, regular runners (like me) may feel discouraged from going out for their usual sessions. After all, who would want to go out and brave the extremely cold temperatures, which can be unsafe?
Not to worry, because running in winter doesn’t have to be dangerous, as long as you know how to go about it. In fact, exercising during colder times is beneficial for your mental wellbeing while still giving you the endorphin rush and cardio your body needs.
So as a runner, what can you do to prepare for the cold temperatures? Read on as I show you tips for winter runs!
Tips for Running in Winter
Running in winter may suck for a lot of us who don’t like the cold, but it isn’t impossible to do so! You may enjoy it with the right knowledge and preparation. With that said, follow these tips to ensure a safe and fun time running during the cold weather:
1. Warm-Up INSIDE
Just like any type of workout, you need to stretch and warm-up. But during the winter season, it’s a bit different as you’ll need to focus more on warming up and take more time. Rather than just a quick five-minute warm-up, make it up to 15 minutes, spending more time loosening your muscles and joints while raising your body temperature to sweat lightly.
By doing so, it won’t feel as bad as you step into the cold, and the muscles won’t feel tight. I recommend that you warm-up inside to feel warm your body further.
2. Wear the Right Outfit
Make sure to dress up a bit more compared to if you were running during hot days. Have a base layer for any cold weather, keeping you warm while it wicks away sweat and moisture. Wear a base layer for your top and bottom, adding extra layers if it’s too cold.
But, you should still underdress by a couple of degrees since you don’t want to get TOO hot. If it’s 25 degrees outside, dress as if it were 45 degrees, with 20 degrees being a good rule of thumb.
Furthermore, while you don’t lose most of the heat in your head, but it’s still crucial to keep both your hands and head warm when in the cold! Wear thick earmuffs or a beanie, which you can take off if it gets too hot. Also, wear gloves especially if it’s below freezing since even with gloms, the fingers feel numb and stuff!
3. Stay Aerobic and Regulate Your Breathing
Your heart tends to beat faster when it’s cold, which is what makes outdoor runs more intense. Unless you’re training for competitions, avoid running as fast as you can, and overexerting yourself. Don’t add too much stress on the body and stay only in the aerobic zone, which is up to 150BPM.
It’s a bit slower than what one is used to, but you get similar benefits. Use the winter season to improve your conditioning and maintain your muscles while enjoying the cold and good view!
Besides this, focus on both your running form and breathing as you go. Control your breathing and take a breath every three steps, then exhale for another three. It can help develop your rhythm and prevent you from feeling tired and breathless.
4. Use the Right Shoes
Besides your base layers and running outfit, think of your feet as well! Since the surfaces are a bit slippery and wet during the winter, you may need different running shoes. Even running on paths clear from ice and snow, you can’t avoid a few areas that are prone to slippage.
Be sure to lace up with running shoes that offer great traction and protection from water and snow. Wear warm and comfortable socks to keep your feet dry as well.
5. Keep Hydrated
Yes, it’s cold, but that doesn’t make you lose less water as you sweat and exert yourself! While you won’t sweat as much during the colder weather, hydration is still crucial.
You don’t have to drink during runs unless you run for longer periods, but you should still drink liquids before and after your run.
6. Finish FAST
As you end your run, make sure that you finish it in a warm place. Your body temperatures drop quickly once you finish, so prepare in advance.
If you’re able to finish your run once you reach the front door, then perfect! If you’ll have to drive home, then you need a thick jacket and hot beverage in the car.
7. Check the Weather
Before you do go on a run, check the weather and temperature to see if your body can take it. You wouldn’t want to run during strong gusts of winds, and knowing what cold to expect can help you plan your run accordingly. If it looks like it’s too cold for you to run, it’s best to skip it and follow an at-home workout instead to stay safe.
Be sure to keep your runs between 30-60 minutes at most, nothing over 90 minutes even for experienced runners. This is because it can compromise your immune system and spending too much time in the cold is very uncomfortable!
8. Stay Safe!
For those who run during early mornings or nighttime, there won’t be as much sunlight compared to summer.
You need to prioritize your safety with the lack of visibility by wearing a high-vis kit for other runners and cars to see you. Consider investing in a head torch as well, and be sure to run in slightly crowded areas and parks with good light.
Wrapping It Up
Learn more about running in winter form this awesome video:
I hope that these tips for running in winter helped you out. So start preparing for the colder months ahead and continue running for better health now!
Do you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences running in winter? Share it in the comments section below, all your thoughts are much appreciated.