Winter is just around the bend. The easy moments of simply heading out the door for a run are gone. Running outside during the cold months takes a bit of planning ahead, but with these tips you should be safe and sound through the entire exercise.

What to Wear

Before you head out on a winter run, be sure to wear the proper clothing.  Dress in layers to prevent being cold initially and getting overheated during the middle of the run.

  • Wear lightweight wicking fiber clothing closest to your body. It will take away moisture and keep you warm throughout the workout.  Socks made from synthetic fibers like polypropylene can help with moisture too.
  • Fleece is an excellent middle layer while Gore-Tex and nylon work well for the outer layer. Both will help protect against wind and precipitation.
  • Always wear a hat. About 40% of your body’s heat loss is from your head. If you get too hot you can take it off and the same goes for your gloves.
  • Don’t forget the SPF and shades this time of year either.  It is still important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays as well as your eyes from the suns glare as it reflects off snow and ice.

Weather

Check the weather before you head outdoors for a run. If there is rain or ice, opt to run indoors.  Wait for the bad weather to clear.  Black ice can be on your sidewalks and pavement, and cause undo injury if you are not careful.  Check the wind chill and temperature prior to your run. If the wind is strong or the temperature is below -20 degrees ,then keep your miles on the treadmill.  The months between December and March are a good time to work on your maintenance runs and not test your body or the elements with long distance runs.

Post Run Awareness

Running in the cold means you shouldn’t stay in your post-run wet and sweaty clothes.  While you shouldn’t do it any time of year due to the breeding of bacteria on your skin, in the winter it is important to remove the wet clothes to keep from getting chilled. Colder weather creates a risk for hypothermia.  If you remain outdoors after your run, remove the sweaty or wet clothes and change into something dry.  Find shelter to keep the cold at bay.  Just because the sun isn’t as strong and the heat not as intense you need to remember to stay hydrated once you are home.  Cold air has a drying effect that can increase dehydration as well.

Just like summer’s sun and heat the winter poses threats when running outdoors.  Stay safe, protected and hydrated each time.