If you’re a dedicated runner, you don’t mind sweating, and getting up before the sun rises is a regular activity. In the winter, though, things can get tricky–sure, you’ve got light earlier in the day, but it can also be cripplingly cold in the winter. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to make running outside in the mornings, during the day, and at night just a little bit easier.
This one goes without saying– you don’t want to get cold feet before a run! Keeping your feet warm is a critical part of running in the winter. Wool socks, especially thinner wool socks if you’re running in tight shoes, will keep your feet wet and dry. If it’s snowing, wool socks will keep your feet dry–which should help you avoid any fungal infections caused by steamy, hot running shoes.
If you have the money, some runners buy themselves an entirely new pair of shoes for the winter: with room for wool socks, grippers they can slip on, or water-resistant uppers. You can add a relatively inexpensive set of slip-on grips to any pair of shoes if you’re worried about moving on the snowy and icy pavement. If you can’t afford an entirely new pair of shoes, avoid puddles and patches of snow on your run.
Keep Your Body Warm
When it’s cold outside, you should bundle yourself up just enough to be chilly when you first head out, but by eight or 10 minutes into a run, you should be the perfect temperature. Wear too few layers, and you’ll be freezing. Wear too many, and you’ll steam in your sweat.
Layers are perfect for this– an extra pair of gloves, jacket, or long-sleeve shirt can be great for helping you stay insulated for the first mile or two. You can even layer a pair of sweatpants over a couple of leggings, or if you’re feeling unusually chilly, two pairs of leggings!
Some people call these ‘warmup layers.’ They’ll wear them for a mile or two and then find somewhere to drop them off. You can opt to skip the ‘warmup layers,’ but you’ll be chilly for the first mile or two.
Adding a reflective vest, jacket, or another item of clothing can help others see you, especially at night when it’s dark and drivers are having a hard time understanding you. Since the sun sets earlier in the winter, those 5 pm runs can get pretty dark pretty quickly. There’s no more natural way to derail all of your training than a substantial injury– like getting hit by a car. Do yourself (and all of the drivers on the road) a favor by picking up something reflective to wear before you hit the sidewalks for your nightly run.
Be Aware of Logistical Problems
Usually hit the track to work on speedwork? Plowing companies likely won’t dig it if it’s snowed in. You often won’t be able to drive to the gym, if it’s snowy, either, so consider alternatives to the treadmill in those situations. If you feel uncomfortable running in the dark on some of your routes, find alternate routes or run on your lunch break. Sure, running is great, but staying safe is the goal in any situation. You won’t be able to run if you get injured.