Winter Running Tips to Keep You Safe, Warm and Happy

Now that my injuries are healing up I’m back out there running in the cold. It’s hard enough to get yourself started again after a layoff, but doing so when the days are short, cold and dark can be a real challenge. I find that the hardest part of running (or any type of training) in the Winter is getting yourself out the door. Here are some tips to get you out there in the worst weather with a smile on your face.

Focus on the little things:
• When I’m having a tough time getting out the door, I simply focus on getting dressed. I don’t think about the run, I just get dressed.
• Once you are dressed and out the door, don’t focus on where or how far you will run, just take a single step… Then another.
• Let your body, in the moment tell you when the run is over. Pushing to hit a certain goal each day can lead to injury.
• Baby steps add up.

Make it comfortable:
• Pick out some great music, or an audiobook. I’ve been listening to lectures from iTunes U. Nothing like learning as you run. It makes the runs go by really quickly.
• Layer up – If you are properly layered, you should never feel cold, no matter what the temperature. I like to leave the house feeling warm… That way if the wind picks up your sweat won’t freeze on you. See my video below for proper layering tips.
• If you are driving somewhere to run, bring plenty of warm, dry clothes to change into. There is nothing worse than driving home in a freezing car with wet clothes. In addition to what you bring, always keep an extra jacket, gloves, hat, socks, boots and blanket in your car just to be safe. I’ve had to rely on these spare items more than a few times.

Make it social:
• Nothing takes the chill off like a warm conversation.
• Find some Winter training buddies.
• Pick up a new sport that might have more Winter participation like cross country skiing.

Play it safe:
• Icy Roads – Drivers do not have as much control on slick roads. Do not assume that they will steer clear of you. Be responsible for your own safety and step aside as they approach.
• Narrow Roads – If you live in a rural area with snow plowed on the sides of the road, you have to remember that there is not as much passing room for cars as there is in the warmer months. When cars are approaching from both sides, stop running and step off the road.
• Visibility – Don’t run on the roads when it’s snowing hard. It will be much harder for drivers to see you.
• Sidewalks tend to be icier than roads. Wear shoes with cleats to avoid a dangerous fall. (See the video below)
• Frost bite – Be careful on days with a severe wind chill. If you must run on these days, put a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your cheeks and nose to protect you from the elements.

Double Up:
• Breathing in a lot of very cold air can damage your sinuses and your lungs and create a condition called exercise induced asthma. So instead of doing long runs or training sessions, break them up into 2 or 3 shorter runs throughout the day. That way you’ll minimize the damage to your respiratory tract.

Check out my Winter training videos:

How To Dress For Cold Weather Running:

Deep Snow Running:

Running with Ice Cleats:

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