Cold Weather Running Tips

Introduction


It is recommended to have two different types of training regimes, a summer and a winter training programme. Runners should not plan to make any increases in mileage or add speed work to the training regime in the winter. Cold and Icy conditions can provide an ideal scenario to slipping and injuring a muscle or even breaking a bone. It is advisable to warm up indoors before you commence running and be especially vigilant if conditions are icy or wet. Try not to run on icy roads and opt for snow as this surface will provide better traction. It is also advisable to shorten your running stride and run slightly slower.

Clothes

Runners must wear appropriate clothing for running in cold conditions. Wear thick absorbent dry socks and make sure you have adequate space in your running shoes to accommodate these thicker socks. Some runners actually buy a ½ size larger running shoe for winter training to accommodate for thicker socks. Taking care of your feet is essential on order to prevent frostbite and circulatory problems with the feet. Try to wear a warm hat when you are running in cold conditions.

A significant amount of body heat is lost from the head which affects the whole body’s circulation. Wool gloves and thick running track suits are also recommended. If it is not very cold then you may wear a layer of polypropylene shirt below a sweat shirt, that should be enough for the upper body.

Some runners prefer to wear polypropylene or Lycra shorts together with wool running trousers. Underwear is also an important item and often overlooked, opt for insulated underwear with a special attention to the front panel being insulated to prevent a cold related injury.

Wind-chill

The weatherman’s favourite word are, “the wind-chill factor”. Runners must be careful with running into a wind-chill as the extreme cold can be draining and even dangerous. Some runners prefer to run into the wind to start off with and then return with the wind at their backs. The return run is easier as you have perspired and your body is warmer.

Skin care and Hydration

Make sure you use a moisturizer and sun block to prevent blister formation and redness in the face area. It is imperative that you remember to maintain adequate hydration before and after running to ensure your muscles recover after running in cold weather.

If you decide to run in cold weather then take it easy. Studies have shown that long, intense activity such as running can make you susceptible to colds. Try and drink a high carbohydrate energy drinks on the run, it will help maintain your immune system. Eating fresh vegetables and taking vitamin C can also help prevent a cold while running in cold conditions.