Running in Cold Weather

Winter is on its way and, for those of us in colder climates, that means snow.  But, snow doesn’t mean you have to put your outside runs on hold.  Running in cold weather can be a fun way to stay in shape and beat the winter blues.  It’s also a great way to train and improve your running skills before the warmer seasons arrive.

Here are some tips to get you out running safely this winter season:  

  • Protect your skin with Body Glide® anti-chafe balm. Colder weather tends to dry out skin, leaving it more susceptible to rubbing and chafing.  Body forms a protective barrier to help prevent rub marks and chafing.  Before you get dressed apply Body to any problem spots (underarms, chest, nipples, in between thighs, under sports bras, etc.) to keep your skin chafe-free.
  • Extra traction is needed in slippery conditions.  Trail shoes with a thick tread or shoes fitted with a traction device (such as Yak Trax or NANOSpikes) are necessary when running through snow and ice.
  • Keep your feet dry.  Try to wear shoes with limited amounts of mesh.  Or, buy shoes with waterproof uppers.  Wearing wool or moisture-wicking socks will also help keep your feet warm and dry.  Foot Glide® balm can help prevent blisters and rub marks caused by thicker and/or wet socks.
  • Start your run a little cold.  As you work harder your body will warm up.  If you start out warm you will be too hot before long.  If you start a little cold, however, your body will warm up to a comfortable running temperature.
  • Play with layering.  Everybody is different so find what combinations work for you.  A good place to start can be found here in Step 3.
  • Leave the cotton clothing for after your run.  Cotton tees and sweatshirts are comfy and great for a post-run warm-up, but shouldn’t be used while running.  Cotton holds in moisture which, in the long run, will leave you feeling colder and wet cotton can get heavy.
  • Ears get cold too.  A hat, beanie, or headband should be worn to keep your ears and head warm.
  • Gloves or mittens are essential for keeping hands warm.  Mittens tend to be warmer than gloves so choose what works best for you.  Either way, make sure they are breathable so you can have the most comfortable run possible.
  • Your pace might slow down – this is not a bad thing.  Sometimes, slowing your pace is necessary to avoid slipping and falling.  It’s always better to lose a few minutes on your mile time than to roll an ankle or break a bone slipping on ice.
  • Enjoy your run!  The crisp, cool air, the puff of fog as you exhale, and the sense of freedom from getting outside is worth the extra prep and slower pace needed for a good run in the snow.

Keep in mind:

Running in cold weather is much tougher on your mind and body.
Running in the snow requires the stabilizing muscles in your core and the inner and outer leg muscles to work twice as hard.  This can cause you to fatigue faster than expected.
Make sure to focus on what is in front of you.  This makes you better prepared for changing terrain and less likely to fall or hurt yourself.

Preparation is key for running in cold weather and the right gear can make the biggest difference so before every run use Body.  And don’t forget to leave us a comment with your own winter running tips and suggestions!

 

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