Despite the chilly temperatures and adverse weather conditions, running outdoors in the winter is still a great option for staying fit. However, it’s important to remember that running in cold weather is different from warm weather cardio. Here are some useful tips for cold weather running to keep you healthy and safe.
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1. Wear thin, portable layers. Long sleeves and pants are generally a must for cold weather running, but be sure not to overdress. Running in the cold still generates a lot of body heat and you don’t want to be caught with a thick puffy coat when a thin, sweat-wicking long sleeve would suffice.
2. Consider a hat and gloves. Keep your head and hands warm, but stick to what’s comfortable. There are several choices for head coverings like beanies, ear-warmers or hoods, but if you start to overheat, don’t feel you have to wear it for the entire run.
3. Focus on your breathing. Don’t let the snap of cold deter you from your workout. The burning sensation in your nose or lungs will go away given time. Take this opportunity to breath more deeply and try to control the urge to shorten your breaths.
4. Run in the early afternoon. The morning and evening are the colder times of day, so schedule your run for the heat of the day– early afternoon.
5. Protect your exposed skin. Cold air can wreak havoc on your skin. Remember to wear sunblock if the sun is out, and use moisturizer to avoid wind-chapping.
6. Hydration is still important. Drinking water is vital to a strong cold weather run. Be sure to hydrate before and after you exercise.
7. Don’t run on ice. Ice is slippery and increases the chance of injury. Given the choice, opt for snow, as it has better traction.
And remember, it always depends on the conditions of the day. Use your best judgement to gauge your environment before setting out.