Tips for Running in Cold Weather

plaine dans les vosgesBrr! The weather outside sure is getting frightful depending on where you live and if you’re like us, you’re probably already feeling Old Man Winter blowing down your neck. But don’t worry – you don’t have to let cold temperatures spoil your plans to get in shape or to go out for another run. With a little bit of care and some of these tips for running in the cold, you should be able to enjoy your exercise routine without discomfort or an increased risk of injury. Remember – winter can be a tough time to get some running done, but with the right tools and knowledge, it’ll be a cinch.

Here are some great tips (and tools) from Heart Rate Monitors USA for running in cold weather:

1.) Dress Warm. This one is kind of a no brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many people neglect to wear enough layers while running in the cold!  Start with a bottom layer of thin, moisture-wicking fabric. Try to stay away from cotton as this holds the moisture and will keep you wet, making it harder to actually regulate your body temperature. Then, follow up with a outer, breathable layer of nylon or Gore-Tex to protect against wind and precipitation. If it’s really, really cold, include a middle layer of polar fleece for extra insulation. Finally, don’t forget to protect your hands, face, head, and feet with gloves, a moisture-wicking sock liner, a hat, scarf or face mask, and a pair of nice thick wool or fleece socks.

2.) Plan your run. Wind chill and temperatures can mean a yes or no on whether or not you can go running at all. The general rule is to run in what you feel comfortable in, but to be safe, don’t run when the temperature dips below zero or the wind chill is below minus 20. Temperatures like these can actually penetrate those layers of warm clothes. If it’s too cold, hit the treadmill or an indoor track instead.

3.) Check with your doctor. If you have any problems with your heart, breathing, or just any health concerns in general, check with your doctor before braving the elements. Cold air can trigger chest pain or asthma attacks, so it’s best to proceed with caution. No matter what your level of health, always be sure to stretch and warm up. Going for a run in the cold without stretching is a recipe for injury. Practice preventative care by taking at least 15 to 20 minutes to stretch and do a warm up before beginning your run.

4.) Wear sunglasses. Although it’s snowing, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still be affected by harmful UV rays. Wearing sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, and sunglasses, even in the middle of winter, is a smart move if you want to take care of your body. Remember – cold temperature and winter winds actually have a drying effect on you skin. Not to mention, sunglasses can also help you in the event of snow blindness. The rule of thumb: polarized lenses are usually best.

5.) Stay hydrated.
Despite the cold weather, you’ll still end up heating your body up and sweating, which means that you’ll need some additional moisture. Drink water before, during, and after your run by carrying along a Camelbak reusable water bottle or another type of canteen.

Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be much more prepared for what the winter may bring. In the meantime, feel free to share some of your best winter running tips with us in the comments!

We’d love to compile a list of your tips for a future post!

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