RUN IN STYLE Uncategorized Running in cold weather – 10 tips to get through it!

Running in cold weather – 10 tips to get through it!



First of all – Happy New Year to you all!

I am sure that most of us are glad that 2020 is finally over.

It has been a tough year for everyone. For some more than others…

It has tested our health, strength, patience and mental state. It has taken and given in some cases.

I truly believe that 2021 is the year of discovery, opportunities and fulfillment – in ourselves; and only – if we truly desire something better.

So don’t give up and make 2021 extraordinary for yourself and others around you!

 

It’s that time of the year – gear up!

 

January and February are the coldest months of the year! Well, depending on which side of the world you are..

Regardless of that, if you are not just a fair weather runner and have been running no matter what the conditions, or you want to start running in cold weather – I have some tips for you!

If you told me that I would be running out in the snow when it’s -10 few years back I probably would have laughed in your face.

How things change…

For me running is not about being comfortable or doing it when it’s convenient. It is about keeping a promise to myself. While staying safe of course!

Also, it is worth to know that running in winter actually can boost your natural immune system. However, you need to have the right gear to avoid injuries.

OK, let’s cut to the chase.

 

10 tips to stay safe while running in winter!

 

1. Increase your warm up time

Remember that you should only do dynamic stretches and activation exercises before running.

For example: Jump Squats, T-push ups, high knees. Leave the stretches that don’t hold the movement for the cool down. This will help you to avoid muscle cramps/strains or other more serious injuries.

2. Take it easy if you are not used to it

Start with shorter distances and slower pace.

Overdoing it can cause bronchial infections which is basically catching a cold or other respiratory issues. In case, you are concerned about catching pneumonia, don’t worry too much as it is not actually caused by cold weather.

3. Protect your lungs

Firstly, make sure you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This will help to warm up the air before it gets to the lungs.

Secondly, use a snood scarf or a bandana. They are good for any outdoor activity and can be

used as a mask in case, you have forgotten yours at home. (Happens to me all the time!)

 

4. Use a headlight and reflective gear

The daylight is not for that long during the winter. Most of the time, when I go for a run, it is dark. If you work during the day and can’t always do lunchtime runs, you will also be running in the dark most of the time.

Check out my article on high visibility running wear – lots of good advice on reflective gear to keep safe.

My personal favourite is the trespass waterproof jacket. You certainly won’t go unnoticed wearing it!

5. Wear gloves and a hat!

Keeping hands and your head warm is very important. You can even get frost bite if temperatures are below 0.

There are different kinds of hats and gloves for running so you just need to try out the ones that feel better.

I always prefer multi use gear so I quite like VBIGER unisex gloves. You can use them for cycling, hiking, or just daily.

They have a bit of a reflective line, they are waterproof and of course – touch screen which is very handy!

I have tried out many hats. I often feel like my skin gets itchy while I run so knitted hats don’t work for me. And I also find that I had to keep pulling it down as it scrunched up above my ears. Really don’t like having cold ears! I have found few that work for me however. Check it out here!

6. Make sure you wear layers

I am sure you would want more layers anyway as no one like to freeze. It is important to pick the right layers however.

I normally wear 3 layers :

> base layer – this will keep you dry and warm

> long sleeve running top – the colder it is the thicker top it should be

> a reflective waterproof jacket – protection against rain and wind

If it is a sunny day and the temperature is at least 5 degrees, I’d drop down to 2 layers leaving the jacket at home.

 

7. Wear the right shoes

 

Your summer running shoes certainly are not appropriate for running in winter, especially if it’s snowing.

Winter running shoes need more support to run on icy, wet and snowy surfaces as well as keeping your feet warm and as dry as possible.

Solomon is one of my favourites especially for winter/trail running. They look and feel great.

There is another article on running shoes that might interest you talking about whether expensive are really worth it. Check it out here to get more clarity.

 

8. Don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Just because it isn’t a hot day and you think that you are not sweating that much doesn’t mean you don’t need to hydrate.

Hydration is extremely important when doing any sort of exercise and I cannot stress that enough. Check out an article here where this is explained more including nutrition which applies to any kind of running.

 

9. Keep yourself accountable

You will have a lot more motivation to get out running in winter when you keep yourself accountable.

You can do this by having a running buddy. You can motivate and help each other. We all have those days when you just don’t feel up for it. When you learn how to push through anyway – it will help you not only with running but other areas of life.

If you prefer to run on your own – set yourself goals by joining a challenge or have something in mind that you are working for.

There is a great article on motivation when it comes to running. It will help you in those dark days when you are just not feeling it!

 

10. Do Not forget the cool down and change clothing!

This is very important with any workout, but especially after running in the cold.

I know how tempting it is to just have a hot shower and collapse on your sofa once you are done with your run. But it is the worst thing you can do to yourself when it comes to fitness.

Firstly, get out of your clothes straight after your run and put on something dry and warm otherwise you are going to start feeling very damp and cold which leads to chills.

Your cool down doesn’t have to be long. In fact, it should be shorter after running in cold conditions than in summer. Just few static stretches will do but make sure you do them!

You are ready – almost!

 

You might have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about keeping your legs warm. That’s because there are mixed views about it to be honest.

You should wear what feels comfortable for you! My partner runs in shorts whether it is +20 or -20. I think he is crazy… But he has been doing it for years and it works for him!

My legs get that tingling and burning feeling so I need to have thermals on, or at least full length leggings on.

You won’t see me in shorts until it gets to at least 15 C.

 

Enjoy and stay safe!

 

If you are still reading this, you must be committed and interested!

I hope I haven’t scared you away from getting out in the cold to run. When you get in a habit of doing it, it is actually quite enjoyable and refreshing. A great way to start the day!

P.S. This photo below is us just before our run last year on Christmas day!

4 thoughts on “Running in cold weather – 10 tips to get through it!”

  1. Cogito says:

    Hey Cynthia! Thanks for this article, I somehow struggle to motivate myself to jog in winter.. And you are right – getting proper shoes is vital. I underestimated this component 3 years ago and twisted my ankle, I struggle ever since. But anyway – do you know some nice apps to get running buddy online? Unfortunately my partner doesn’t run and my friends live quite far from my place so it’s impossible to gather in the morning to get to jog. I figured maybe there would be some app that would help me find ‘virtual’ buddy 🙂 thanks!

    1. admin says:

      Hi Cogito,

      I will admit, it’s not the easiest thing to get motivated to run in the winter. I certainly would suggest a running buddy – keeps you accountable and it’s more fun! 

      Strava is a great app for runners and I have met many people and buddies on it. If you have a fitness watch – for example Garmin – you can connect with people on the Garmin connect app and compete with each other. 

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks 

      Cynthia

  2. Andy says:

    Your article reminds me of something I learned from a cycling enthusiast friend of mine when I was living in the Netherlands. It gets cold in the Netherlands in winter and it’s often a question of whether it is safe and healthy to do rigorous cycling in winter. His approach was simple. As long as you train yourself in the warm weather and just keep going as it starts getting cold you can keep cycling all through winter and you will not or should not get sick. Well, if you did get sick it would not be because you were cycling in the cold. Does the same apply to running in the cold? If you are going to start running in winter, is it not a better idea to wait until the warm weather, then once your body is accustomed to regular running in all weather, winter will be a breeze? Sorry, feeble pun intended. Thanks, Andy

    1. admin says:

      Hi Andy. 

      My partner cycles and has a very similar view. He would cycle in his shorts all year long no matter what the temperature. But he’s been doing it for years, so his body is used to it.

      In regards to running, it all really depends on one’s body. We are not all the same and what works for one person, won’t work for another. 

      If you are new to running, I would suggest start running in moderate temperatures (10-20 degrees). This would help your body to accustom to running in general and going in slightly colder/hotter should be easier. However, it is also fine to start in colder conditions but precautions like proper running gear should be taken to avoid any injuries. And the main thing – taking it easy! If, at any point, it really doesn’t feel right – stop and let your body rest. 

      Thanks 

      Cynthia

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