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safely running in cold weather

Safely Running in Cold Weather

Running in Cold Weather Tips


Where I live in Europe, winter is the most dreaded season for recreational runners. Most end up taking their routine to the treadmill or elliptical at the gym, or even worse, not continuing their running routines at all. This is not necessary, however. Any runner, at any stage in their running careers, can continue running through the cold weather. Dressing properly for winter running is just as important as where you are going to run.

If you doubt that you can stay out of the gym and off of your couch when the freezing temperatures come your way, try some of the following tips:

  • Run on an indoor track. This is not the most ideal situation, but on the days that are just too cold do some speed work on the track to build your endurance and improve your form.
  • Run outdoors between 12 noon and 2 p.m. This is the warmest time of day. In summer, you run in the early morning or evening to stay cool. In the winter, you want to be as warm as possible.
  • Dress properly for the weather. When running, the rule is to dress slightly warmer than the weather outside. Thin layers will help you stay feeling light and warm. For example, -5 to -10 degree weather, you may want to wear a long-sleeved sweat-wicking shirt, cold weather running tights, windbreaker pants (depending on the wind chill), a running jacket, a hat, and gloves.
  • On windy days, run out against the wind and come back with it. Your body will spend extra energy trying to keep itself warm while the wind runs over it. You will be better off expending this energy in the beginning of your run, rather than at the end when you are tired and cold
  • Avoid running on ice if possible. The ice, obviously, is slippery, but packed snow can also be slippery and contribute to cold feet. Wearing waterproof running shoes, or better yet running with waterproof running shoes with dubs, can help stabilize your landing over Icy area’s.
  • Most of all, if you remember nothing else, avoid puddles. Stepping in a puddle will get your foot wet which will at best make for an uncomfortable run. At worst it could contribute to frostbite.
  • When you get home, check your toes and fingers for discoloration and numbness. If you find that these persist for very long, get medical treatment as soon as you possibly can