The cold season is soon approaching and there is going to be nothing as hard as getting out of your bed during this season. Who in their right senses would even think of running in such cold? It is that time of the year that you have to choose between keeping fit and remaining indoors
For sure it’s a dilemma that is quite difficult to address. However, the moment I found out how peaceful and fresh it is to run in the winter cold, I became a big fan of the sport. However, there are some tips for running outside during winter that you need to arm yourself with.
You need to be cautious about a few issues though for you to enjoy your run. It is important to plan yourself well and have the right gear. Otherwise, you’ll have a bad experience; something that will discourage you from winter running forever. In this article, I’m going to share with you some of the tips that really made me enjoy winter running. Have a look.
Top 10 Winter Running Tips
1. Have a Serious Warm-up in the House Before Moving Out
You need to spend some good amount of time to loosen your joints and muscles. And this is possible by warming up in the house prior to the actual race. This will also help in raising your body’s temperature so that when you step into the cold, your muscles don’t get tight.
Either, you can as well decide to warm up out of the house. But this time round you need to wear some light clothing that you can easily tie around the waist because the chances of you going back to the house will be minimal. Besides, you can put on some warm clothing on top of the light ones during the run.
2. Wear Shoes with Proper Traction
Ideally, it is recommended that you ignore paths that have ice and snow in large amounts. However, in winter you can never tell when you’ll come across ice or snow along the tract. It is, therefore, important that you wear shoes with proper traction so that you don’t slip and get injured while running.
The best shoes for running outside in winter should also protect your shoes against substances that are likely to cause injuries. Avoid shoes with upper mesh at all costs so that your feet can stay warm. Additionally, you need to get yourself some warm socks to keep the cold away.
3. Keep your Hands and Head Warm
The winter cold is always on a level of its own. You need to keep your head and hands warm. You can wear thick earmuffs that are easily removable for easy storage in pockets since your body will get hot as you run.
Again, there is absolutely no way you’ll run at temperatures below freezing point without gloves. My hands were getting numb and stiff even though I had gloves on. The gloves you go for should be thick enough.
4. Consider the Direction of Flow of Wind
Running in cold weather requires some in depth understanding of the flow of wind. As you stand your race, you should run into the winds but as you finish, the wind should be behind your back. This is important as it ensures that the breeze doesn’t cool you after breaking the sweat.
In cases where you can’t do minus running into the wind, you’ll have to arm yourself with wind shields. These are easily and cheaply available in the local stores. Running in a windy winter morning can be so harmful in instances where the skin is left exposed. Apart from wind shields, there are some body oils and face masks that can be of great help.
5. Get Hydrated
I know this doesn’t make sense to you as you’ll be running in a cold weather but keeping hydrated is very important to any kind of workout that you may choose. Take adequate drinks before you get yourself out in the cold.
Being that it is cold doesn’t mean you won’t lose fluids; you’ll be surprised at how much sweat your body is producing under the running kit.
Dehydration can cause your body more harm. All you need to do is carry some water with you as you run. Haven’t you heard that water is life? Even in the coldest of seasons you can’t live without water.
6. Don’t Cover Much Ground
Running in the winter is all about body maintenance. You shouldn’t strain to run longer distances in such cold seasons. It is not healthy to expose your body to low temperatures for a long time.
Additionally, you need not run at higher speeds. The ground could be slippery as a result of the wetness brought about by the forming ice and snow. In that regard, it is very easy for you to fall, especially when running at high speeds. Just maintain a considerably low pace to avoid any possible injuries.
The winter run should just be about shedding those excess calories, enjoying outdoor activities with friends as well as maintenance of body muscles.
7. Underdress Yourself
It is obvious that your body temperature will rise as you run. This means that you should give some room for the expected increase in temperature whenever you are dressing yourself for a winter run. Dress yourself for warmth because it’s cold out there but don’t dress as if you’re about to get to the top of Mt. Everest.
When it is so windy outside then it is a good idea to dress a little warmer. Who really wants to finish a run then get to a rude shock of having contracted upper respiratory infection? Not you at least.
Again, if the temperatures rise to unbearable levels then you are free to remove the extra cloths and even tie them across your waist as you journey on.
8. Make a Quick Change After the Run
The moment you stop running, your body temperature decreases immediately. To avoid the expected chills, it is a good idea or practice to change your now light clothes with heavier and warmer ones that can cover your entire body.
This is the time that hot coffee comes in handy. If you are into soups, then some hearty soup will do you some justice. The soup will most likely replenish your lost sodium and protein. Always ensure there is some hot tea, soup or chocolate for the after-run.
9. Be In a Group
Having a friend or being in a group where you motivate yourself is very important for the winter runs. It is a sure way to keep focus and the motivation to keep running. If there isn’t a friend nearby to encourage each other, then you better join a reputable group in your neighborhood.
These groups have professional leaders that will ensure you are not only well safety wise but also enjoying the run. You better find your own source of motivation if you happen to be alone.
10. Illuminate Your Way
There are usually heavy snows in winters that at times can affect one’s vision. Remember, accidents between humans can be very fatal. To avoid running into somebody else, it is a good thing to consider having stuff like reflective jackets. This way, you’ll be visible even from far. Headlamps are also necessary in darker areas.
Running in the winter is fun! I’m talking from experience and I can say that those who’ve had regrettable situations haven’t followed the tips outlined in this article. It doesn’t cost much to put into practice these tips for running outside during winter. It also calls for a little discipline to have a memorable winter run. There isn’t any rocket science as to how to run in the winter; just these basics will serve you right.
Have you ever taken part in a winter run? What were your experiences? Are there any other tips that came to your rescue that haven’t been included in this piece? Feel free to share your thoughts with me.