Dark everywhere, cold everywhere. What will it be, what will it be? Running in winter requires proper preparation and following a few simple rules. Check which ones exactly and see what your run should look like during this specific and demanding season.
This period is not a favorite, not only for runners. Unpleasant weather conditions, biting frost, sometimes falling snow or freezing rain, and challenging, unsuitable running routes can cause problems and discourage activity. For the ambitious runner, however, no obstacle cannot be overcome.
Warming Up Before Running in Winter
As with any activity throughout the year, the key is to warm up properly before running. Without all of the muscles connected and activated, the machine of the human body may not work correctly, especially in challenging winter conditions.
To not seize some parts of the machine, they should be started appropriately. Warming up before running in winter should last about 10 or 15 minutes, focusing on preparing muscles and joints for proper training.
It is essential to warm up the whole body while having a lot of effort in the cold or unpleasant snow. There are several ways to catch the rhythm, and winter does not slow you down from the obligatory warm-up.
From jumps to punches, swings, twists, hip circles to energetic bends – all these exercises help prepare the body for the right effort. In addition, they ensure that you will not feel a thermal shock during the run.
Thus you will not expose your body to the unpleasant consequences of cold. And yet even at sub-zero temperatures, this is what it is all about in this beloved by millions of physical activity. Pure pleasure, right?
Can You Run in the Cold?
Contrary to some opinions and fears, running in winter, in sub-zero temperatures, is not dangerous. Of course, everything requires specific and complete preparation, after which you can fully devote yourself to covering the next meters.
Of course, it is impossible to overdo it with frost. The most common advice about the temperature limit to test your abilities is a maximum of 25 degrees below zero.
For such results, the human body can successfully defend itself against heat deficiency and supply enough oxygen to the tissues. Some studies, however, indicate 15-degree frost as borderline. In this matter, a lot also depends on the specific runner and his limitations.
Some people may think that running in the cold is a health problem. Nothing could be more wrong. As long as you are not struggling with severe illnesses and ailments, going outside and testing your body in low temperatures should only strengthen your body.
It is no coincidence that steel is hardened in harsh conditions. Due to the low temperatures, the runner’s body should become resistant for the following months. Strengthening is one thing, but the dressing is another.
How to Dress for Winter Running?
Perhaps it is not a robe that decorates a person, but in the case of winter running, the right outfit is one of the keys to success. Well-chosen clothing not only provides pleasure and comfort in training but also increases the safety of exercise and the condition of the runner without risking your health and risking a cold.
As with any winter activity, the layering method is the most appropriate. Putting on several layers of clothes will help to properly prepare the body for exercise, protecting against the cold, its consequences, as well as against possible mechanical injuries.
The primary and most important layer is thermal clothing, providing adequate heat and allowing the body to breathe during training.
After throwing in the thermal underwear, the next important element is preparing the middle layer. It can be a comfortable, loose sweatshirt, a zipped fleece or a warm T-shirt.
The third layer is the outer layer that protects against cold, wind and rain. It is essential that the outer jacket you put on before running is comfortable, waterproof and breathable. It should also not be too thick as the body has to catch air and not overheat.
Autumn windbreakers are perfect for such an effort because, as the name suggests, they protect against the wind and help to evacuate air during exercise.
In the case of the third layer, you also need to make it stand out on the road. The more glare, lighting and eye-catching colors, the better. A winter runner’s trail is a bit like a model run. You don’t want to go unnoticed, do you?
If you run in wet snow or freezing rain, you will not be without proper footwear. Anyway, and during every season of the year. Here, however, the leading role is played by the correct, usually non-slip sole and the thickness of the material from which the shoe is made.
The light, airy, knitted fabric will not be the best choice. Heavy leather boots, even more so. The best winter running shoes are shoes with a waterproof finish and a soft sole.
In general, the requirements for winter running clothes can be defined in this way – they should be visible, warm (but not too much!), Comfortable, non-invasive and waterproof.
How to Run in Winter?
The answer to this question is simple: as often as possible, but also approaching the whole matter wisely. Planning this specific activity requires appropriate preparation from the amateur athlete, even a few weeks or months back. A well-written and completed running calendar is essential here.
Less favorable weather conditions mean that grinding the results and breaking new records miss the point. Of course, it is essential to have some general knowledge. In other words – know how to start running. Also in winter.
The main feature of the effort between December and March is to build endurance by increasing the number of kilometers achieved.
Grinding speed, performance and overcoming further limitations and barriers is not the best option when it’s cold outside. This time is best spent on calm but prolonged and frequent runs at a slower pace often interspersed with even walking runs.
An essential element is planning the route and focusing your attention on the surface you run on. Otherwise, the whole thing may turn into an OCR race, i.e., an obstacle course. Avoid slippery, poorly packed routes in winter and focus on the most stable surfaces.
Nobody would like to twist an ankle or stretch any muscles by stepping on an uneven part of the ground or slipping on a road that resembles a sheet of ice and would be more suitable for people who prefer skating.
It is also natural to prepare and implement an appropriate running technique. Pushing the pace is pointless, given the body’s safety and the general nature of winter runs.
These should be done slowly, without getting out of breath, allowing the body to supply energy to all cells and oxidize them properly.
Trail running involves different muscle groups, so you need to manage them wisely. On unstable surfaces, try to run on very bent knees, lower your center of gravity to feel as stable as possible.
Do You Run in Winter? You Take Care of Your Health!
Contrary to popular belief, running in winter can be fun. The proper technique, the right outfit, the right mood, and you can overcome any weather anomaly.
Even though there may be blistering chills or gusty winds outside the window, it all starts with you, your approach, and your preparation.
Who wouldn’t like to feel the rush of endorphins, breathe clean winter air and oxygenate the whole body? Reasonable effort is good for anything, especially when the weather outside is not good.
It is also worth remembering that winter runs are a surprising pleasure and health itself. Winter and running harden not only the body but also the spirit.