Running in Cold and Icy Conditions - Everything You Need To Know
Posted on 21st December 2022 at 19:01
Winter has arrived. It’s cold outside and there might even be snow, so running is over for the year, right? Wrong! You can run outside in the cold, but you just have to think a little more about what you’re going to do, where you run, and for how long.
Safety needs to take priority, as no one wants to be injured over the festive season! While running in cold weather has a lot of overlap with running in warm weather, it also has its share of unique challenges to be aware of. From stretches to gear to temperature safety limits, there’s a lot to keep in mind.
Get your layers on
Layers are your best friend when you have to go for a run outdoors when the temperature is below freezing or when the weather is unpredictable, like in the autumn and spring.
Layering up before going for a run in the cold allows you to quickly adapt to changing temperatures. Wearing extra layers at the outset of your run will allow you to shed them as necessary as your body temperature rises.
It's important to wear layers that can still breathe so that you don't get too cold from the breeze passing through sweat-soaked clothing.
Don't forget to warm up
When it gets colder outside, you'll need to either spend longer warming up outside or spend more time indoors warming up before going outside to run in the cold.
When running outside, especially when it's cold and windy, it's important to give your muscles plenty of time to warm up before pushing yourself to your limits, as this will help prevent injury.
Layering is key, but you must ensure that all of your clothes are either highly visible or reflective. While you may find that running early in the morning or late in the evening is when you feel most energised, shorter days mean you’re more likely to be running in the dark. While you may be able to get in a good run after work in the bright evening sky in July, January mornings tend to be somewhat dark and dreary.
Be careful of your shoe choice
Normal running shoes are fine if you plan on exercising on ice- and snow-free streets, trails, or tracks. Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you have to change your routine. Make sure you're wearing a pair of running shoes that are suited to your feet and running style.
If there is ice along the way and you are focused on getting those miles in, things can become a little trickier. You can purchase cleats or grips to wear over your existing footwear that is designed for use in slippery and muddy environments.
However, just because you are wearing them doesn't guarantee that you won't trip and hurt yourself on a slippery spot. Additionally, these grips can be uncomfortable as you frequently transition between plain concrete streets and icy and snowy patches while running.
We typically worry more about staying hydrated during warm-weather exercise. After all, if it’s cold, you’re not sweating as much, right? Wrong. Hydration is still essential. The problem is, you’re still sweating but you’re not feeling as thirsty and gulps of cold water don’t feel quite as refreshing as they do in summer. Room temperature water is best so that you don’t cool yourself down quickly in colder conditions.
It’s worth letting someone know your route or sharing it live via your phone, and let them know how long you expect to be. Don’t forget to tell them when you’re back safe and sound. If you are in doubt, try to run with others if you can. After your run, book a sports massage so we can keep you running all year round.
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