If you follow my blog, you know that I love running - especially during the wintertime. Do you know this exhilarating feeling of working out in freezing cold temperatures?
The main joy of running for me is the time I have for myself, the time when I’m able to clear my head of all the thoughts spinning around and haunting me, the time I feel at ease with my body. It might be even the feeling afterwards, once I take my well deserved hot shower and feel so unbelievably energised and rightfully proud that I have beaten - once again - the winter blues.
But whatever your reasons are to go for a run in the winter, running in the cold requires some preparation and also a few safety measures to be followed beforehand, in order to be enjoyed safely and to the fullest.
Without further ado, here are my top tips for running in the winter.
1. Do not dress too warm.
One of the worst things you can do while running in the cold is to dress too warm. Rather wear a few thin layers of workout clothing that are especially designed to keep your skin dry and warm. For outer layers try wearing some wind-stoppers or insulated jackets.
The best measure for the right choice of clothing is when you find it quite chilly once you hit the road. Don’t worry – a few minutes into your run and you will be snug and warm, but not too warm.
2. Keep your fingers and your feet warm.
Did you know: As much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet, and even some 40% of your body heat is lost through the surface area of your head. Wearing proper gloves, socks and caps will help prevent heat loss. Make sure you invest in a great pair of gloves and also some thin but warm pairs of socks. Please remember also that your socks should be waterproof, so you don’t fall ill after your run, because of your feet getting wet.
3. Protect your face and head.
When I go for a run in the cold, I always wear a scarf over my mouth, so I’m able to breathe only warmed up air and don’t hurt my lungs. Especially when you are not used to running in the cold, this helps a lot. Since the air can be ice cold at times you might start to cough after a while. So make sure to keep your chest area and lungs safe.
I’m very sensitive when it comes to my face. Since I have to cope with a lot of allergies and irritations, the scarf is also a great thing to protect my face while running. I noticed a huge benefit of wearing a scarf over my mouth: My skin looks glowing and dewy after I finished my run instead of frozen and sour (like it looked before I started using a scarf).
A warm beanie is also a must. Make sure it has a snug fit, so you don’t need to fumble around during your run. Nothing is more annoying then having to constantly adjust everything along the way.
4. Warm up.
Make sure you are not jumping head-first into your run. Do some stretching and a warming up sequence right before. This also helps you to prevent the onset of back pain. And trust me: when it comes to back pain after running, I had to learn the hard way.
5. Stay hydrated.
Drinking in the cold while you are running seems counterintuitive. I thought in the beginning of my winter runs as well that the last thing I needed was a drink. In the summertime – well, of course you are thirsty. But beware, during the winter your body is loosing a lot of water as well. Make sure you bring something to drink, although maybe something more appealing than ice cold water.
6. Pay attention to the pavement.
Running in Europe and also large parts of the US can be dangerous in the winter. Snow and ice can make or break your run (and some of your bones). Make sure you only run on dry pavement since a wet surface can freeze over really quickly, or try running directly on the snow. Make sure you check the weather conditions beforehand. There are more fun ways of spending your after-workout phase than waiting in line at your local hospital.
7. Don’t stay in your cold clothes.
Don’t dilly-dally around once you finished your run and make sure you don’t plan any stops or spend too much time talking to the neighbours after you finished your run. Also, make sure you are running at a steady pace, so you won’t cool out.
8. Have a warm shower straight after your run.
Reward yourself with a great hot shower after your run. You will instantly fall in love with that feeling of warming up after being freezing cold. And the feeling after the shower is incredible.
9. Wear reflecting colours.
Winters are dark and weary most of the time. Make sure you are visible in traffic. Light or reflecting colours can save your life and also are fun to wear in the winter. I’m normally a black on black person, but even I learned to wear light and fun colours during wintertime.
10. Run in the morning.
I have to admit – this is not the loveliest notion for everybody, but for me running in the morning is the best thing. For you leaving your warm bed and swapping it for the cold air outside might not be. But please do me a favour and try it out – at least once. You will be addicted anyway in no time. There is nothing better to wake you up and kick-start your day.
So I hope I could persuade you to try running during this winter. I’m sure you will love it as much as I do.
Do you have any tips I forgot and should try?
Please let me know, I would love to hear them.
Go on and beat the cold!