By Karin Krisher
We know winter doesn’t last forever, and we keep holding out hope that we’re almost out of the chill. But here in Vermont, it stays cold for a while. If you’re in a warmer climate, consider these winter running tips whenever gearing up for an especially cold day.
Your main goal should be to keep your muscles warm without sweating too much. To that end, nothing is more important than a serious warm up. Move around a bunch inside, either by jumping rope or mopping the floor, so that by the time you head outside, you’re body is working up to warm. Walk briskly for a few minutes and before you break a sweat, start your run.
The other kind of warm up is the kind you’ll do while you’re running. For that, you need to be prepared. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s roughly 15-20 degrees warmer than it actually is, so your body has space to increase its temperature. At 10 to 20 degrees, opt for two bottoms and two tops, wearing a jacket and wind-protective pants. For 0-10 degrees, add a top.
Your clothes should be dry when you put them on—especially your sneakers. For that reason, we recommended choosing non-mesh options and moisture wicking socks.
Change into dry, warm clothes as soon as your run is finished so your muscles cool gradually and you don’t get a case of the constant chills.
Aside from the cold, there are other winter conditions that will be important to acknowledge so you can have a successful run. Light and wind both come into play. Because of the shorter days, you’ll likely run in the dark. Stay safe on the road by donning a reflective vest and nixing the headphones.
Wind can be negotiated with. Start by running into the wind, then finish your jaunt with the wind at your back so you aren’t battling the breeze after you’ve broken a sweat. If you aren’t interested in running into the wind for an hour, break it up and alternate accordingly, tracing your own path several times.
Winter Running: Our Closing Thoughts
While conditions are important to consider, so is your goal. Should winter be about sprinting as fast as you can? Or should you adjust your workouts so that winter is about logging maintenance miles? We choose the second option. You can also adapt your workouts by splitting your normal 8 mile run into two four mile runs if you can’t run when the day is warmest.
Finally, braving the elements wouldn’t have the same meaning if you didn’t have to consider water. Your intake is incredibly important. Staying hydrated in winter is a must; the air is drier, and you might not know just how much you’re actually sweating. Carry a wrapped and insulated bottle so the water isn’t too cold, or replenish fluids immediately when you return home.
However you choose to run in the winter, run safe. You’ll need to be even more attentive to your body and its needs than you are the rest of the year, and getting into the groove can be hard. If it’s your first winter on the road or you’re having a hard time staying motivated, considering a running group can’t hurt!
Do you have any great winter running tips that we might have missed? Share your ideas on our Facebook page!