When winter sets in, it’s all too natural to feel you have to scale back your running routine. The cold and dark days discourage even the most motivated individuals from getting out of bed to work out. However, before you sabotage your exercise, remember all you’ll leave on the table if you give in to the fear of the cold.
Rather than jettison your running, you can double down on your exercise while taking measures against the cold. With the proper warm clothing and precautions, you can still enjoy a run even when there’s snow outside. Take these countermeasures to tame the harsh winter weather.
Wear a Sweater, Pants, and Thick Stockings
To ward off the cold, your first step should be to wear a warm sweater and pair of pants to your running attire. A sweater is indispensable for winter running since it can counter the cold and keep the chilly draught from seeping underneath your clothes.
Equally helpful against the cold will be a pair of thick stockings. You might want to go with socks made from wool since they generally make the warmest socks. Other materials such as cotton will not do so well in the cold, especially when there’s a chilly wind blowing.
Wear a Hat, Gloves, and Dress in Multiple Layers
Next to your body, your head and hands are the next major area of vulnerability against the cold. When the cold is only mild, you won’t need these additions, but when it gets below freezing, wearing a hat and gloves can be the difference between you running well or getting a bad case of frostbite.
Hats and gloves can be made from various materials such as wool or nylon. To beef up your defense against the harsh weather, wear multiple layers. Depending on how cold it is, two layers of clothing might be enough, or you might need a third layer. When this is not enough, you might wish to consider alternative workout activities.
Bring a Light When It’s Dark Outside
Besides the cold, running outside in the winter involves the additional challenge of poor visibility. This is especially so in the early morning and evening. If you’ve been accustomed to running at dawn, you will discover that the early morning light arrives later in the winter. Similarly, if you were running at dusk, it is likely to be very hard to see during the winter since the sun sets much more quickly.
This requires bringing an outdoors light to your exercise routine. The best solution for running often involves bringing a headlamp that you can strap to your forehead. This is optimal for running since it leaves your hands free to swing and balance you should you lose your footing.
Drink a Hot Beverage to Warm up Before and After Your Run
To help your body warm up before a run in the cold, you can have a hot drink. Coffee or tea is good, but so is some hot chocolate. Just make sure you don’t drink too much and become too bloated with the water. In addition, don’t let the temporary warmth you feel tempt you into leaving behind your warm clothes unless it’s spring and you can see the sun coming up outside.
After your run, your body will likely be quite cold from the cold air. This is why taking another hot beverage once you get back indoors can be so helpful.
Watch Your Step on the Ice
Besides the cold, there are other hazards you must be aware of when running in winter. In particular, you should beware of falling. Due to the deadly combination of snow, ice, sleet, and water, many runners experience injuries when they fall on the ice.
You should, therefore, be especially vigilant when running outside in the winter. Watch your step carefully. Wherever possible, try to step on firm ground and avoid any puddles of water or snow.
Furthermore, avoid smooth ice, which is slippery and won’t allow your feet to rest firmly. If you come across the unavoidable ice, it’s best to stop running altogether, then walk across as carefully as you can.
Explore Indoor Running Options
When it gets too cold or slippery to run outside, you might want to take your activities indoors. When the snow is falling heavily, for instance, the benefits of running will be outweighed by the potential hazards you will encounter trying to run outside.
Fortunately, you can go run at an indoor running track. If you do not have one nearby, you can make use of treadmills and other cardio equipment. Running on a treadmill is one of the preferred options in winter, due to the dangers of the outdoors.
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