How to Run in the Cold
Old man winter is friendly to few – especially runners. Beside navigating the temps falling far below comfortable, there are Mother Nature’s other elements to be wary of. We’re not just talking gusty winds or light flurries, we’re talking icy sidewalks and fresh sheets of snow. But, we know the mind, and determination, of many runners and when there’s miles to be met and the craving for real road under their feet, almost nothing will keep them from it. Seeing as these winter elements can be dangerous enough behind the wheel of a car of walking to and fro, we want to make sure our pavement pounding enthusiasts are prepared with safety tips and best recommendations for braving the snow, ice, sleet, and more.
You can check out one of our former posts *here* for guidance on how to dress for winter temps (and all other seasons) to get yourself started on nailing down the basics. But, one key piece of gear we highly recommend to get you through the snowy months of winter are ice grippers. You slip these babies right over your regular running shoes for added traction and solid, predictable gripping without any added weight or annoyance. Note though, you’ll want to keep these off when indoors or on regular roads. If you’re dealing with varying landscapes and conditions, stow these lightweight life savers in your pocket until you hit the white stuff.
When running in inclement weather you certainly have to be on higher alert than on a clear, sunny Spring day, but there are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your route. If you’re fortunate enough to be near a college or university, these will be a good bet to check first as their maintenance departments are independent of the city and tend to get their roads and walkways taken care of STAT. You’ll also want to check maintenance roads and elementary/high school school routes as those will likely be oh high priority and trafficked by plows and salt trucks.
Prior to heading out, it is imperative you understand this run will be harder in a multitude of ways. Aside from the freezing temps and distracting weather, your run itself is going to be harder. Your muscles will be working twice as hard (meaning you’ll be twice as sore the next day) and burning far more than they would on a regular run. Be sure to set your expectations low and focus on keeping yourself safe with shorter and slower strides in order to help with added traction under your feet and keeping yourself upright.
As mentioned above, your body is working HARD during these type of runs. That means refueling is imperative (as it always is, but most certainly here). Be sure you’re hydrating just as much, if not more, than you would before, during, and after one of your regular runs and fueling yourself with nutritious, whole foods that will help refuel your kick-ass body.
And when all else fails and Mother Nature gets the final KO – don’t be intimated or bogged out by the dreadmill. Use this opportunity to get in a killer sweat with a HIIT workout alternating anywhere from 20 second to 1 minute sprints with a recovery time to match. Either way, just remember, 80+ degrees days will come that will have us longing for those days of sweaters and earmuffs.