Many people take up running as a cost effective and easy way to get fit and spend time outdoors. When the cold weather hits, it can often deter people from continuing this great activity. However, taking the right precautions and having the right gear can help make winter running a fun and safe experience.
Running can help you build strong bones and muscles, improve your cardiovascular fitness and help you maintain a healthy weight. It’s a great individual or group activity that gives you a real mood-boosting effect—that runner’s high—when your brain starts pumping out endorphins and endocannabinoids.
Don’t let a little snow and cold temperatures deprive you of all of these great benefits. Here are some winter running tips to help you get the proper running shoes and clothing and prepare your body to make winter running far more enjoyable.
How Should I Dress to Run in the Cold?
When you run in the cold your body heats up quickly; conversely, when you stop the body will cool down fast. Therefore, layering clothes becomes crucial to remaining comfortable during winter running. Layers should be made of material that wicks away moisture but is warm and comfortable, such as natural wool, polyester, and nylon. Also protecting exposed skin such as the face and hands, particularly on windy days is important in staying safe.
Another important component to winter running is having the right footwear. Keeping feet warm and dry will make your run far more comfortable and limit any potential for frostbite. You want to look for shoes that are water-resistant, breathable and have good traction on the sole of the shoe.
When looking for shoes a waterproof upper is key to keeping feet dry and warm in snowy and wet weather. The upper refers to the part or parts of the shoe that cover the toes, the top of the foot, the sides of the foot and the back of the heel.
The soles of the shoe are key to prevent any falls on icy or snowy surfaces. Most road running shoes are not designed for running in winter conditions. Look for shoes with more pronounced lugs (deep indentations on the sole of the shoe designed in a pattern to increase grip) to create better traction on snow and ice. Ice and snow grips that slip over your shoes can also help to add traction and stability when running outdoors.
How to Prevent Injuries from Winter Running?
Injury prevention is an important part of winter running. Cold weather can cause muscles to lose heat and contract, resulting in tightness throughout the body. A proper warm-up in an indoor location can help to warm up muscles and joints to prevent injury by increasing blood flow to the targeted areas.
A dynamic warm up can include marching, heel kicks, walking lunges and opposite toe touches. Also, pay attention to your running posture and form when you begin your run to ensure proper technique throughout.
Whether you’re looking for more winter running tips, advice on how to start running or needing help recovering from a running injury, Propel Physiotherapy’s skilled and experienced therapists can help you stay on track to continue to train and stay fit during the cold winter months.