Winter Running Tips

By: Andrew Rathjen, PT

Does the onset of cold and wet weather seem to derail your running plans? If you are not a gym or treadmill devotee, I have some alternative ideas. I have found that winter running can actually be fun and rewarding.

The first step is literally getting out the door. Once that is accomplished, the adventure can begin. Attire is a key step in the process. Various studies have indicated that running can add 20 degrees of warmth as compared to a sedentary state. In other words, dress for 50 degrees if the temperature is 30 degrees. The layering of your clothing is important to ensure moisture-wicking occurs. This will maximize heat retention.

Typically, the fingers and toes are the most difficult to keep warm. A good pair of socks and gloves can be very helpful. Adhesive hand and toe warmers can also enter into the equation on exceptionally cold days. A thin baklava is a good idea to help warm the air being inhaled. Since we are already wearing masks, this is not novel behavior. Wind-chill, road conditions, and daylight should also be considered. If you are running in the early morning or night, reflective clothing is a must. A quality flashlight is also essential. I would advise finding a route that avoids traffic, if possible. Motorists don’t see you as well as you think they do. Snow and ice need to be assessed as well. Falling is not a risk worth taking. For the hardcore, Yaktrax shoe accessories may be considered to improve traction. Likely, there will be a handful of days in the winter where it is best to stay inside and caution is the best route.

Once the above hurdles have been cleared, the experience of being outside can be exhilarating. Likely, your neighbor or competitor is NOT out there in this weather. This can enhance the feeling of accomplishment. The winter scenery can be a welcome sight from the screen time the treadmill usually offers and a post-run hot shower will likely feel even better. Happy winter trails.

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