Tips For Running In Winter

Running in the winter is difficult because you can't just leave your house when it's 25 degrees outside and windy and start jogging. But just because the weather is becoming colder doesn't mean you have to put your running shoes away for the winter.

Cold weather running necessitates some specific preparations because temperatures in the 30s and below tend to freeze up your body and convert your extremities into icicles, resulting in stiff joints and strained muscles.

Benefits of Running In Winter

Running outside in the cold can be beneficial in a variety of ways:

  • It allows you to increase your vitamin D intake.
  • It enables you to breathe in the pure, clear air.
  • It can help you get some of the physical activity that your doctor always recommends.
  • I can help you stay in shape and prepare for spring races.
  • Running in brisk conditions can increase your confidence, as well as make you feel revitalized.
  • It can be beneficial to your mental health.
  • Crushing a cold-weather run can be a genuine mood-booster, which is precisely what many of us need when the winter blues hit full force.1
  • You might also find that your body moves better in the cold than it does in the summer heat.
  • Running can provide accountability and structure during the darker, colder months of the year when most people are less active.

Tips For Running In Winter

Running in the winter should be approached with caution. Don't just lace up your running shoes, put a cap on your head, and go for a run. Take some time to prepare for your winter runs ahead of time. By having some specific preparations for the winter running, you'll be able to perform successfully, avoid injuries, and have fun doing it.

Following are a few tips to keep you safe and comfortable during winter running:

1.    Before Going Outside, Stretch, And Warm Up Your Muscles

Warming up is vital at any time of year, but it is more important in the winter. A chemical reaction controls the movements of your glutes, quads, and other muscles, and it works best at a temperature slightly higher than your body's typical 98.6 degrees. So, before you go out, take some time to generate heat. It will not only affect your sense of the temperature, but it will also make you feel less stiff and more powerful. It will also help you prevent injuries like strains and pulls.

When you're warm, the cold doesn't feel as chilly. Conduct an active warm-up inside. Try to do five or six exercises for 30 seconds each, such as lunges, air squats, and donkey kicks, or run up and down your stairs with a jump rope. Jumping jacks for a few minutes can raise your heart rate and lessen the shock your body receives when you open the door. When you place your hands on your thigh, and it feels somewhat warm, you're ready to go.2

If you need to warm up outside, wear an extra, easy-to-peel layer, such as a light hoodie that you can strap around your waist later.

If you've never run before, resist the urge to sprint immediately away. Allow yourself time to increase your endurance progressively. You should take it easy for the first five or ten minutes of your run. You can pick up the speed once your body has warmed up.

2.    Check The Weather Forecast.

Before you leave, check the weather forecast. You should not go out on your first winter run in subzero temps or during a blizzard. Because running in those conditions at any time can be difficult owing to low vision and harsh cold, even if you're an experienced runner, it is not suitable for your health. Examine the weather prediction for a day with moderate temperatures and no impending storms and dress accordingly.3

3.    Dress As If It's Warmer Outside.

You should dress warmly, but not as if you're about to climb Mount Everest. When you begin, you should be slightly chilled. Your body temperature rises while you run; if you overdress, it will become unbearably hot.

Instead, by a few degrees, you should be underdressed. If it's 25 degrees outside, dress as if it's 45 degrees outside. It's an excellent rule to dress as if it is 10 to 20 degrees warmer. You'll heat up to compensate once you start jogging.

4.    Getting Ready To Go

Wearing the proper running gear appears to be a simple task. When jogging in the cold, there are a few things to keep in mind. It's critical to have the correct clothing when running outdoors in the cold.

In the summer, all you want to do is stay cool. During the winter, however, you must find the appropriate balance: don't overdress to the point of overheating, but don't underdress to the point of being too cold.

Following are some tips on what to wear during winter run:

Layering is vital because it allows you to wear warmly at the start of your run if you're cold, but then strip down later in the run as your blood flows and your body temperature rises. And it all commences with the base layer. The number of extra clothing you'll need depends on the weather forecast for your run.

  • Wear A Warm Base Layer

A base layer is great for any cold-weather run since it keeps you just as warm as a thick coat while being much less bulky, and it also wicks sweat away. It's critical to use moisture-wicking fabric as a base layer; it keeps the sweat off your skin. You may believe that you will not sweat during a cold run, but this is a myth. There won't be as much sweat as during a summer run, but there will be some.4

Wear a technical base layer, most likely a long-sleeved one. Wool is a great base layer fabric for the winter since it keeps you warm even when wet. A top made of polyester or nylon blends will help you keep dry by wicking sweat away from your skin. Anything cotton should be avoided because it will get saturated with sweat or rain and will not dry soon, sending you back inside with the shivers. If you don't want to wear gloves but want protection for your hands, thumb loops on long-sleeve shirts are a good option.

  • Bottoms

If it's cold outside, wear long leggings or running pants on the bottom. As compared to looser garments, tighter apparel, such as leggings, can help you avoid chafing.

  • Wear A Right Jacket

A lightweight running shell—a thin, breathable jacket designed for high-intensity activities—might be appropriate for you. Wear a windproof jacket that is also breathable in the back. This combination is necessary to keep you safe from the biting cold while also preventing you from overheating.

Waterproofing is less critical because water-resistant textiles are less breathable, causing you to overheat. Packability is yet another useful characteristic. If you need to take it off, most running coats fold down to the size of a deck of cards and can be stuffed into a pocket or vest.

  • Put on the Correct Shoes

Run in shoes with the minimum amount of mesh to keep warmth in and slush out. Your usual running shoe can suffice if your sidewalks, running paths, and tracks are free of ice and snow. Just because it's chilly outside, there's no reason to change things up. Just make sure you're wearing the correct running shoe for your body and motion.

If you're running in the snow, though, make sure you are wearing shoes with good traction and protection. It will help if you consider investing in a pair of trail shoes, which frequently have weatherproof uppers and superior traction. For running in winter, trail shoes are its tires.5

You can also wear cleats or grips over your shoes designed specifically for walking and running in these kinds of situations. Also, be focused because the trail will most likely have some slick spots.

  • Socks

During the summer run, you might wear short ankle socks. But in the winter, you should shift to thicker, taller socks. You'd be shocked how much simply covering your ankles may help you stay warm. Wear warm, comfy socks that drain away moisture while keeping your feet toasty. Choose socks made of a performance fabric like wool, which makes your feet non-itchy, instead of cotton, which can bunch, become damp, and create blisters. You can also opt for a knee-high sock to provide more leg coverage.

  • Warm Your Head And Hands

Another important aspect of winter running is to keep your head warm. It's a myth that you lose the most heat from your head. Keeping your head and ears warm in the cold is still a brilliant idea. Wear a thick beanie or earmuffs that you can easily place in your pocket if it gets too hot. However, you sweat from your head, and you want to keep that moisture away from your scalp to keep your head warm, so wearing a hat can assist.

There are hats built expressly with moisture-wicking material to keep your head as dry as possible, which is a more comfortable experience than jogging several kilometers wearing a wool hat, which can contribute to excessive heat and sweating. Winter hats are also helpful for concealing exposed portions of your head, such as your ears. They not only keep moisture out of such areas, but they also protect them against frostbite.6

Wearing gloves is the same. It's up to you whether you prefer gloves or mittens, as long as your hands and fingers are covered. When it's cold outside, even with gloves, your fingers will become stiff and numb with time. Put on mittens and insert disposable hand warmers inside.

Wear mittens when the temperature drops below 30 degrees because your fingers stay warmer when they aren't separated by fabric. When it becomes further colder, around 10 degrees, you can take a single hand warmer and switch it between your hands. Use a pair of hand warmers in each hand in mittens for temperatures ranging from 0 to 10.7

  • Maintain Your Visibility.

Ensure that all your layers are highly visible or reflected. Wearing a reflective shirt inside and a non-reflective jacket or hoodie is not a good idea; your outer layer must be visible and noticeable.

Due to the short amount of daylight in winters, you will most likely be running in the dark. Wear neon or bright clothing, and don't be afraid to light yourself up like a Christmas tree. Hold a flashlight or wear a headlamp to see where you're going, allowing you to be more aware of any problems in your path, such as broken pavements, and to make sure people can see you.

5.    Make Sure You Drink Plenty of Water.

In cold weather, you may not notice you're thirsty due to a lack of visible indicators such as dripping sweat. However, even if you're not sweating as much, you're still losing fluids through sweat and exhaling water vapors.

Even though you don't feel thirsty when running in the cold, but hydration is still crucial, especially if you're doing longer runs. Before, during, and after your run, drink enough water. Bring a portable water bottle or a running hydration pack if you're doing a workout that lasts longer than 45 minutes. If you're carrying a reservoir with a hydration tube, keep in mind that those tubes might freeze in cold weather, so switch to a different system or buy an insulated hydration tube.

Everyone's fluid requirements are different, and you won't need as much hydration in the summer when you're sweating more, but drink as much as you would on a normal-temperature day.8

6.    After Your Run, Stay Dry

When you stop running, don't waste time. It's critical to remove your moisture-laden running gear from head to toe as quickly as possible to avoid a prolonged case of chills. Whether you shower or change into dry clothes.

When you stop jogging, your metabolic rate slows, which means your body's internal furnace reduces the amount of heat it produces. If you're done running and inside but still sitting in your chilly, wet clothes, you're in danger of hypothermia. So, hurry inside and remove any sweaty, moist layers.9

If you're short on time, putting on dry layers and sipping a hot beverage like tea or coffee might help you reheat quickly. However, a substantial soup does double duty by replenishing your protein and salt levels while warming you up. A warm shower or bath is the greatest way to warm yourself if you're frozen to the bone. Water distributes heat to the skin faster than air.

The Bottom Line

Running is more about leading a healthy lifestyle. Running outside is a terrific method to get some aerobic exercise and stay active. But you must be adequately prepared and dressed. Begin slowly and gradually increase your workload. Adapt these tips to stay healthy and enjoy running in the winters. If the weather is very extreme, don't go out; find an alternative to running outside, like lower body work out at home and running on a treadmill. Just be cautious and safe and be good to yourself.