Winter is here and its not going anywhere soon, but you don’t have to dust off your treadmill just yet. As the temperatures get closer to freezing, many people stop running outdoors and get on the treadmills, or worse yet, don’t run at all. Running in the cold winter months can still be fun, and NO, it won’t make you sick. Here are some tips for a safe and more enjoyable cold winter run.

  1. Safety: One of the most important issues for winter running is safety. Choose your route carefully as shaded and low lying concrete areas may be icy. Find a route that is consistently clear of snow and ice, some trails and/or sidewalks are maintained better than others.
  2. Visibility: The days are short and visibility is typically low so wear bright or reflective clothing to help keep you safe. If your schedule permits try to run during the daytime hours.
  3. Shoes: Appropriate shoes are a must. Make sure the tread on your shoes isn’t too warn, or get a pair of trail/snow rated shoes. Yaktraks makes cleats to add to your shoes, and work great for slick conditions.
  4. Running mechanics: You may need to shorten your stride a little bit and keep feet low to the ground in slick spots to reduce chance of slipping
  5. Clothing: The rule of thumb is to dress like its 10-20 degrees warmer, due to the warmth your create while running. If you’re to warm, you will sweat and begin to cold. Wear sweat wicking fabric and a wind blocking outer layer which has venting around the back and armpits.
  6. Stay warm: Wear gloves and hat, or something to keep your ears warm.
  7. Drink water: It’s important to stay hydrated even on cold days.
  8. Weather: Pay attention to temperature changes during the day and wind speed/direction. Its better to run into the wind at the beginning of a run and run with it at the end.
  9. Goals: It’s good to keep a goal in mind while running during the colder months. It will help to keep you motivated and pushing even if you’re uncomfortable. Shoot for a certain distance, speed, or maybe its warm beverage at the end.

Don’t let snow and cold temperatures keep you down, get out there and keep running. You’ll be ahead of the game when spring comes around.