16 Jul Essential Tips For Running During Winter
Let’s face it, running in winter sucks.
Days are often cold, wet, dreary, and generally pretty miserable.
It’s no wonder that so many runners living in cooler climates find themselves slacking off during this part of the year.
The problem is, slacking off on your running regime over Winter will lead to a dramatic drop in your fitness levels.
It can impact your health and even lead to weight gain. You might not like what you see in the mirror come Spring-time!
To help you maintain your fitness throughout the year, this article is going to share several essential tips for running during Winter.
If you follow these tips, you’ll get a surprising amount of running done, even if it is cold and wet outside.
Warm Up Indoors
A lengthy indoor warmup makes stepping outside much easier.
It will also reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance.
Instead of spending 5 minutes stretching, aim for 10 to 15 minutes.
You could even include some yoga poses to increase your flexibility and strengthen the parts of your body that take a lot of punishment when running.
The clothes you wear while jogging in cold weather will have a dramatic impact on how comfortable you feel.
Wear clothes made from the wrong materials and you will quickly feel soggy, cold and miserable.
On the other hand, wearing the right combination of clothes will keep you warm, dry, and happy.
How do you dress appropriately for Winter running?
Wear a base layer
A base layer is a super-lightweight layer of clothing that sits against your skin.
It is made from material that is effective at wicking away sweat, like natural wool, polyester blends, gore-tex, and nylon.
These materials are hydrophobic, which means their fibres will not absorb water easily.
Instead, they force moisture through the gaps in the material to the top layers of the garment, where it can evaporate more easily.
This ensures that you don’t have wet spots against your skin, which would make you uncomfortable while running.
Use a base layer for your legs as well as your upper body.
If the weather is particularly cold where you live, use a long sleeve base layer.
Use waterproof/windproof top layers
Above your base layer, use clothing made from materials that are waterproof and windproof.
They will help you stay warm and dry as you run.
Ideally, your outer layers should have zippers in strategic locations like the neck, underarm area and chest.
This makes it easy to zip the garment up-or-down to increase-or-decrease your temperature.
Top layers should be lightweight and foldable, so you can store them in your pocket if the weather warms up.
If you are running in extremely cold weather, use thicker top layers or consider using multiple top layers.
Wear a great pair of shoes suitable for winter running
Look for a pair of shoes that has less mesh, so water is less likely to enter the shoe on wet days.
Also, look for products that use synthetic uppers, like Gore-Tex, as it will wick away moisture.
Wear a pair of SmartWool socks to keep your feet comfortable.
Choose shoes with a thick outer sole that provides plenty of traction in wet weather.
Don’t forget headwear
If the weather is “really” cold, consider wearing a beanie to keep your head warm.
A hat is also a great idea even in the cooler months, as harmful UV rays can penetrate through clouds.
Wear bright colours
If you are running in locations where there are vehicles and bicyclists, make sure your clothes are bright.
If you are in a heavy traffic area or run in the dark, add some reflectors to your clothing or wear a visibility vest.
You can also use a safety a light to improve your visibility to motorists.
Remember — safety first!
It’s harder to notice how much you are sweating when you are running in the cold and wearing a high-quality base layer.
However, you are definitely sweating and becoming dehydrated as you run, so keep the fluids up — even if you don’t feel like you need to.
Take Steps To Increase Your Motivation Levels
The toughest part of running in Winter is remaining motivated.
Fortunately, there are several tactics you can use to boost motivation levels:
Make it a competition
Get a group of friends together and compete during certain sections of your runs.
It will make the run more fun and increase the benefit of each outing.
You can also commit to competing in a specific event and use that as motivation.
Reward yourself after the run
Developing an enjoyable post-run ritual will help you get into the habit of Winter running.
Something as simple as putting your feet up for 30 minutes to watch your favourite television show can act as a motivational tool.
Use music, podcasts, and audio books
It is much easier to battle through the aches and pains of Winter running if your mind is engrossed in a great audio book or you are listening to your favourite song.
Interestingly, music can actually improve the effectiveness of your workouts by changing your mental state.
Set goals and track your progress
Keep a workout journal, where you track how much you ran each day, how you felt, and some vital stats, like your heart rate.
Regularly refer to your journal to see how much you have progressed.
This great article from Healthline has many other tips for increasing running motivation levels.
Make It Easy To Get Going
The toughest part of running in winter is getting your butt out the door!
Make it easy by having your clothing already laid out, so you can quickly get changed and get out the door.
If you are a morning runner, consider sleeping in your base layer, so it’s just a matter of throwing on your shows and a wind jacket.
Get Changed Quickly Post-run
Once the run is over, get changed immediately.
You need to be out of your damp clothes before your body temperature begins to drop.
Have a nice hot shower followed by cup of tea or a bowl of hearty soup.
I hope you found Essential Tips for Running During Winter useful.
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