Itâ€™s difficult to motivate yourself when thinking of running outdoor during winter season. Cold weather, snow and ice, short days, chilly winds and cold temperatures make you feel like staying in bed all day.
But itâ€™s important not to hibernate and stay active during winter, especially after the feasts of winter holidays. If you follow a few basic precautions you can overcome the setbacks that winter season brings to running outside.
Here are 11 great tips for running outdoor during winter season:
1. Check the weather first
A strong and chilly wind could cause frostbite or even hypothermia. Be sure to check the weather forecast. Even if itâ€™s nice and clear now, the weather can change fast. If it looks bad it would probably be best to stay inside. You donâ€™t have to act like a hero and go out into a blizzard!
2. Donâ€™t go out when itâ€™s dark
Besides the temperatures dropping fast after sunset, there is also a problem with visibility. Wearing reflective materials could alert drivers of your presence. The best time to run would be just before sunrise.
3. Use the right shoes
You should use special running shoes for winter, designed for snow and ice with thick rubber soles, rubber cleats or even sharp metal spikes.
4. Dress in layers
Wearing three layers of clothes help insulate your body and eliminate moisture.
The base layer is in contact with your skin and it should keep you warm and dry when running outdoor. Any of the following materials are a good choice: polypropylene, silk, polyester, wool. Cotton however should be avoided as it traps moisture and it stays wet.
The mid layer is for insulation. Materials as polyester, wool and fleece would do the job.
The outer layer should be water and wind resistant and should also allow moisture to escape. Gore-Tex is an excellent material but other options that are not so high tech would still perform well.
5. Protect your extremities
Your hands and feet are the most vulnerable to frostbites so make sure you wear proper gloves, socks and shoes when running outdoor during winter. A scarf and hat that covers your ears are also necessary. Research shows that you can loose up to 30% of your body heat through hands and feet and up to 40% through the head.
6. Avoid icy areas
It is best not to go out running outdoor if the ground is too icy or snowy. A fall could be very serious especially if you are alone. A cell phone with full batteries is â€œa mustâ€ for any runner in the winter.
Even in the cold you loose water through sweat, so be sure to stay well hydrated.
8. Protect against hypothermia
Hypothermia is defined as a significant drop in body core temperature. It starts with shivering, cold sensations, numbness and confusion and leads to lack of coordination, muscle stiffness and unconsciousness.
To protect against hypothermia you should dress in layers, cover your head and mouth, stay dry, especially at your feet, and hydrate.
9. Donâ€™t wander around
Weather changes can be very abrupt so make sure you have places where you can stop and rest or seek shelter if things get to the worst.
10. Go with a friend
Having a friend beside you not only gives you extra security but the company also takes away the boredom and might increase running motivation.
11. Donâ€™t overdue
If you have certain health conditions it would probably be best to avoid such activities.
If you hate the gym, running during the winter can be a healthy and invigorating experience. Even if nature is against you, itâ€™s the difficulties that make it so appealing.