It might be cold and snowy, but that doesn't mean you have to hang up your running shoes. With a little bit of preparation, you can be winter running ready.
Even the most avid runners have second thoughts about going for a run in sub-freezing temperatures, but winter doesn't have to be a time of setbacks or treadmill running. Follow our tips to make winter running fun and liberating.
Wear multiple layers for warmth
Winter running begins and ends with layers. Layering keeps you warmer while allowing you to easily shed clothing to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Layers help because, when running, you'll go from cold to hot quickly. If you are unable to modify what you're wearing, your running workout might become unbearable.
The base layer is the closest layer to your skin. It should be made of material that wicks sweat away from your body.
Your middle layers are where warmth is created. Pick wool or fleece to ensure that you'll be able to manage your body temperature.
Your outer layer should be windproof and waterproof. During your run, if you slip or if it starts to snow, this layer will keep the middle and base layers dry.
It is a fundamental necessity to keep all of your skin covered because winter wind can damage skin quickly. Cover your neck and face with a windproof balaclava. Protect your hands with quality gloves, and pair winter-grade running tights with wool socks to protect your legs and feet. As you warm up while running, remove unneeded layers and tie them around your waist or diagonally across your torso by the sleeves and keep moving.
Snow provides a nice cushion and good traction; however, you need to watch out for ice. Ice is slick, and sometimes your normal stride could spell disaster.
Stick to safer pathways for running and stay away from neighborhood streets, narrow roads, or hills where vehicles might lose control. For added protection, consider wearing a reflector vest or don very bright clothing to increase visibility.
Plan your run
During winter runs you'll be working harder, so remember to keep your effort easy and reduce your overall mileage, if needed. Although snow is soft underfoot, it's still important to stretch and pay attention to any pain you might have from plantar fasciitis.
Finally, have a plan in case of emergency and you get stuck in a sudden, heavy snowfall. Make sure people know you are out running, or post something on social media.
Indoor exercise alternatives
When the weather is just too much, consider exercising indoors. Join a local gym, or try a group workout on Zwift.
Zwift is a cycling and running game and training program that runs through a laptop into a treadmill or smart trainer. At any given moment there are 4,000-9,000 people from around the globe exercising on Zwift, so you'll have lots of company.
If you have any questions or problems with foot pain while running this winter, Logansport Memorial Hospital's Dr. Alex Lebrija can help. Schedule an appointment and learn more about our podiatry care services.