The days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder, but that doesn’t mean you have to trade in the running trails for the treadmill.
Those that keep up their outdoor running through the chilly winter months tend to perform better come race season – and you can burn more calories just trying to stay warm too!
Instead of heading to a busy gym to run on the treadmill, the recommendations below may make it easier for you keep up with your routine and help you prepare for running outdoors this winter.
8 recommendations for winter running
1. Keep your head, hands, and feet covered
A significant amount of heat loss comes from our extremities. Opt for clothing that has zippers around the neck/underarms so that you can unzip if you get too warm. Hat, gloves, and even a face cover are a must for those bitterly cold runs!
2. Dress like it’s warmer
You should be slightly cool when you start, but you’ll get warmer as you run. Sweat too much and you might get a chill. Be sure to change clothes quickly after your run is complete so as to not get damp/cold.
3. Prolong your warm up/warm up indoors
At lower temperatures, it’ll take longer to warm up your muscles and joints – give your body the time it needs to warm up to prevent injuries.
4. Wear the right shoes and socks
Wear ice grips over your soles for better traction on the ice, or if your budget allows, invest in a pair of studded winter running shoes. As for your socks, they should be warm but help to wick moisture away.
5. Choose a safe route
You probably know every inch of your favourite running route, but if it’s not being plowed, salted, or sanded, it’s probably not worth the risk. Stick to well maintained routes to minimize your risk of falling.
6. Make yourself visible
Motorists may not be expecting pedestrians on cold winter days. Depending on road conditions, they won’t be able to stop on a dime. Wear reflective gear and a headlamp and stay alert during your run – even if it means going without tunes.
7. Bring a friend
It’s hard enough sticking to a running routine when the weather is nice – don’t let the frigid temperatures outside your frosted windows get you down. Commit to a schedule with a friend to keep up your motivation (misery loves company!).
8. Be ready to mix it up
All of these tips can help you pound the (frozen) pavement, but some days, the conditions will simply be too bad to go for a run. Be open to trying indoor exercises so you can maintain your fitness routine at home (i.e. stair climbing, HIIT exercises) or at the gym.
Winter running is a different beast entirely, but these recommendations will help you prepare to tackle it! Lace up, stay warm and safe, and keep running until the snow melts…eventually!
If you’re interested in setting up an individualized exercise program for the winter, find a clinic near you and book an appointment.
Tthis blog originally appeared on Lifemark.ca and was written by Karen Tyssen.