5 Tips For Running In Winter

Running in the winter can be enjoyable for some and a no-go for others. With nights getting darker and the air getting colder, it’s completely understandable why some may prefer to run indoors on a treadmill. However, running in the cold certainly has its benefits and can be great for your mindset as an extra challenging element is added to your run - the cold!

If you are up for the challenge of running in winter, keep some of these tips in mind to perform at your best and not set yourself back!

Our Tips:

  1. Wear a mask over your mouth
  2. Monitor your heart rate
  3. Dress for the occasion
  4. Warm up and cool down properly
  5. Stay safe in the dark

Wear a mask over your mouth

Colder air is drier air. When we breathe in dry air, our throats and the lining of our lungs can dry out at the same time, making them more susceptible to infection.

Luckily there’s a very easy fix, wearing a snood, mask or Buff over your mouth keeps your breath warm, preventing any dryness from occurring. While it might seem slightly harder to breathe with a mask on, we could argue it’s better than the chest pains from breathing in colder air. If you can’t wear a mask, try to breathe through your nose as much as possible to lessen the amount of cold air entering your throat and lungs compared to your throat.

Monitor Your Heart Rate

When running in winter, our heart rates actually increase compared to the summer at the same intensities. Put simply, if you took a snapshot of your heart rate running at a certain intensity in the summer, and another snapshot of your heart rate running at the same perceived intensity in the winter, your winter heart rate would be higher.

If you are monitoring your heart rate to stay in a specific zone, you may need to keep a close eye on your heart rate in colder temperatures as you may not need to run as fast to be in the same zone you would be in during summer running at the same speed. Fitness trackers like Garmin or the Apple Watch can display your heart rate, or even the specific zone you are in right on the display.

Dress For The Occasion (avoid cotton)

One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of running in winter is warm leggings, gloves, a warm jacket or maybe even a hat and scarf. But picking what to wear when running in winter isn’t just about layering up.

Cotton absorbs moisture, this includes sweat in the summer and winter or even rain and snow. Anyone that has run wearing cotton might tell you that it’s not pleasant. Investing in sweat-wicking materials like wool or polyester will certainly benefit you.

Warm Up and Cool Down Properly

If there was ever a time to warm up before a run, it would be winter. When we run in the cold, our bodies react by taking blood away from our hands and feet (less vital) and delivering it to the vital organs to keep them functioning properly. Taking a good amount of time (around 12-15 minutes) to warm up properly can avoid your body having to work overtime when you get out in the cold.

The problem comes when warming up too quickly after being in a cold environment. As we warm up, the opposite of the process mentioned above happens and the blood moves away from our vital organs, back to our hands and feet. That said, send the blood away from the vital organs too quickly (e.g. going from a cold plunge pool and then immediately sprinting afterwards) and more blood leaves these organs than necessary. This only usually happens in extreme cases, but keep it in mind regardless.

Stay Safe In The Dark

Also, as the nights get darker it can be harder for cars and other vehicles to spot you out on the roads. Some running lights might not be a bad idea, or if you want some reflective clothing, the brand-new Lumos collection from On Running can increase your visibility in the dark.

As the pavements become covered in snow and ice, slips become far more frequent and some people may even resort to nipping quickly onto the side of the road to avoid an ice patch (which we certainly do not recommend).

Keep an eye out for traffic, bikes and other people no matter how quiet you think the streets seem.

Is It Healthy To Run In Winter?

It depends! If dressed properly and sensible measures are taken to protect yourself from the elements then there is absolutely nothing wrong with running in winter. However, not wearing the right clothing or monitoring your heart rate (if you are into this type of training) could lead to sub-optimal results. If you are still hesitant, remember that not every single workout has to be harder than the last, and a brisk winter walk or a light jog can also go a long way.

When running on uneven ground such as snowy pavements, maintaining good running form and wearing the correct footwear is important. Book a Gait analysis appointment at Greaves where we’ll help you choose the perfect running shoe for your own foot shape.

Grab your winter running clothing here at Greaves sports with free standard UK Delivery Over £75, and don’t let a drop in temperature keep you from that feeling of accomplishment at the end of a run.

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