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.
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!
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!