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10 Tips for Cold Weather Running

September 24, 2013

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As the weather starts to get chillier, one of the hardest things to do is keep up with your running routine. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather wrap myself up in a warm blanket on the couch watching the snow or rain fall instead of heading out for a run! However, I know it’s next to impossible to retire my running shoes for six months. These 10 tips for cold weather running make it much easier to get outside and stay in shape.

  1. Stretch your legs: When you exercise in cold weather, your muscles are not quite as flexible as they are in warmer weather. The likelihood of pulling a muscle in the cold is much higher. To prevent this, make sure you are adequately stretching and warming up before you hit the pavement.
  2. Find a running buddy: Finding the motivation to lace up your sneakers and head outside to brave the elements is half the battle! If you are meeting someone for a run date, or waking up before the sun for a run with your roommate, it makes it a lot easier get out there.
  3. Sign up for a race: Just like finding a running buddy, signing up for a race can motivate you to run in the cold weather instead of staying snug in your bed. If you have a goal to work toward, you are bound to pull yourself to train even in the snow!
  4. Pile on the layers…but not too many layers: It may seem obvious, but it’s important to wear plenty of layers when you leave the house, but only enough so that you will feel comfortable to keep them on for the duration of your run. Your body will heat up at least 10 degrees while you run, and you want to avoid overheating. Try to wear sweat-absorbent layers closer to your body that will keep the moisture off your skin. Thicker fabrics like cotton or fleece make great outer layers. And don’t forget gloves and a headband to cover your ears! 
  5. Invest in waterproof footwear: No matter how warm your body is, if your feet are cold then you still run the risk of getting sick or even getting a mild case of frostbite on your toes. If you live in an area with lots of rain or snow, consider investing in a pair of waterproof running shoes. 
  6. Stay in the light: Winter days are shorter, which makes it difficult to find time during daylight for a run. However, as much as possible you should avoid running the in dark when the already cold weather is much colder. Consider running on your lunch break or saving your outdoor runs for the weekend. 
  7. Remember your lip balm: The cold air and wind can really do a number on your lips. Stick a small tube of lip balm in your pocket if you’re going for a long run and apply it often to protect the delicate skin from the cold. 
  8. Wear sunscreen: Just because it’s cold and cloudy doesn’t mean the sun’s powerful rays won’t hit your skin. Use a facial moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or more when you go for a winter run so you don’t need to worry about coming home with a Rudolph red nose. 
  9. Don’t over-do it: Winter running should be about staying in shape rather than getting faster or running farther than you ever have before. For the same reason that you need to stretch before you go, you run the risk of straining your muscles if you push yourself too hard on your run. 
  10. Warm up after your run: As soon as you get home from your run, get rid of your sweaty clothes and take a warm shower or change into warm clothes. Warm your muscles as fast and as soon as you can after your run!