Running in the Winter
When the temperature starts to drop our instincts are to bundle up as much as possible but when you are going out for a run this is not a good idea. If you are bundled up enough that you are comfortable when you start your run, you will not get very far before you are overheating and sweating. This is not only an uncomfortable way to run but running in sweat drenched clothing will also increase you risk of a chill. It is a good idea to dress in layers so that you have the option of unzipping, or even removing a layer if you need to. And remember it is ok to feel a little bit chilly when you are starting out, your body is going to warm up quickly.
During the winter months the amount of available daylight is much shorter so chances are you will be doing some running in the dark. If there are snow banks piled up along the road this also makes it more difficult for others to see you. This means it is more important than ever to make sure that you are visible. Wear bright colors, and use reflective clothing and gear. Running with a flashlight or headlamp is also a good way to increase your visibility and has the added benefit of helping you see better.
Warm Up Before Heading Out
While it is always good to stretch and warm up before a run this time we mean it a little differently. If there is a chill in the air and you don’t want to start your run with a shiver, but don’t want to be overdressed than a good plan of action is to do a little physical activity before you head out. A few trips up and down the stairs to get your blood flowing, or a little bit of yoga can make a big difference in how you feel for the first few minutes of a cold run. Just be sure you don’t get warm enough that you start to sweat and risk a chill.
Don’t Forget the Wind
Anyone that lives somewhere that gets a real Winter knows that it is not so much how cold it is, but how much wind there is. If there is a strong wind it can easily make the temperature feel 10-15 degrees colder than what the thermometer says it is. If you are going for a run on a windy day begin by running into the wind, this way you have the wind at your back for the run home. This way at the midpoint of your run if you have begun to sweat you will not be turning into an icy breeze. It will also make the last half of your run when you are feeling more tired that much easier.