Just because it’s getting winter doesn’t mean you can’t go running outside. Here are nine tips to make your cold season outdoor cardio safe and enjoyable.
1. Longer Warm-Ups
In cold weather it takes your muscles longer to warm up, therefore making the warming up part of your running session a bit longer usually is a good idea.
2. Wear long sleeves and pants
Leading over from #1: I know those short running pants look good on you and why shouldn’t the world get a chance to admiringly glimpse at your well-trained calves? Because due to the lower fall and winter temperatures, the blood quickly retracts from your bare muscles and tendons, making injuries more likely.
3. Wear thermal clothing
Ok, not entirely a must, but those fancy thermal clothes really are a bit more than a gadget. They can keep warmth in while letting humidity out.
4. Less Meshing, More Warmth
Those fancy, lightweight meshes on your running shoes are meant to let warmth out during summer. That makes it a no-brainer that in winter you need a shoe with less meshing that keeps more warmth in.
5. Same Shoe, But Thicker Socks
In case you are absolutely uber-fond of your usual running shoes, at least wear thicker socks. If it’s really cold, you might actually consider heavier socks and shoes with less meshing.
5. Look At Trail Running Shoes
If you do consider getting special winter running shoes a good option and sometimes cheaper than special winter models are trail running shoes. They have a more aggressive sole pattern than the normal ones and usually are at least partly water-proof.
6. Watch Your Step
Even with the best shoes it is hard to tell what exactly is lurking under a layer of snow: sticks, stones, holes camouflaged with fallen leaves and a thin, white veil. Whenever possible, run where snow has been cleared.
7. No Dice On Ice
But no matter what, I consider running on ice is as a no-no. Because not only can you slip, the constant trying of keeping traction can be tedious stress for feet and legs, special traction ice running shoes or cleats or not.
8. Be Bright, Wear Bright
Yes, neon yellow probably is not your color. It probably isn’t really anybody’s color, but in the darker season it is darn good at allowing motorists to see you when you try to cross the street jogging-wise. Driving my own car at night, I once had a jogger practically jump out of nowhere in front of my car, because he was practically camouflaged in black and grey – that didn’t do my cardiac health much good.
9. No Cold War
Once you are finished, get out of the cold as quickly as you can. The run kept you warm, maybe you are even sweating, and once you stop, heat is leaving you like rats a sinking ship. Get inside and do your cooldown stretching there.
Picture courtesy of Vincent Desjardins.