Woes of wind, freezing temperatures, snow and rain – these are hardly tempting conditions for a jog. But, running in the cold could be truly exhilarating and beneficial. There are a few steps you could take towards healthy body and uplifted mood.

Many places in the northern hemisphere are still facing low temperatures, inches of snow and freezing rain. If running outside in the cold is the last thing on your mind right now, try to give this idea a second thought.

Cold is even better

True, staying in a cozy warm house sounds delightful. However, if you find at least one valid personal reason to start running in cold weather –  done! After one or two successful attempts, it will turn into your routine. Here are a few reasons you might find inspiring:

  • Releases tension
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Challenges you
  • Low temperatures put less strain on your body
  • Boosts your energy – heat, and humidity during summer time exhausts the body after an outdoor workout. Winter jogging on the contrary – will make you feel energized.
  • Creates a habit, nothing is more powerful! Repeat, repeat, repeat – afterward, this seemingly unlikable activity will become your second nature.

Planning for cold weather running – follow a few tips to get all the benefits from your workout.

snow running

Warm-up

Muscles get especially tight in low temperatures – get your blood flowing before you step outside. Simple exercises – jump rope, lunges, jumping jacks, squats will increase oxygen availability and efficiency of muscles and joints.

Avoid

  • Cotton tops – soak up moisture and it takes them a while to dry which will make you feel cold.
  • Dehydration – we could be losing just as much fluid in the low temperatures as we do in the hot summer time. Make sure to rehydrate yourself.

Safety

There are three main guidelines on how to run in the cold:

  • Make yourself noticeable – when in the dark, reflective gear or bright-colored clothing items allow car drivers to see you. You could also use a small flashlight.
  • Take it easy – decrease the chances of pulling a muscle when it’s freezing. Don’t expect to maintain the same pace as you do during warmer weather.
  • Keep your goals achievable – don’t attempt a breakthrough training. You can gradually increase the mileage each time. In this way, you won’t put intense stress on your body.

Gear

Running Man

Now, let’s talk about the essentials – what to wear when running in the cold.

  • Layers – it’s tempting to put on as many clothing items as possible. BUT, your body temperature increases while running. So, dress for the weather, around 15 degrees. Wear breathable and lightweight layers. The top layer should be waterproof and windproof.
  • Proper shoes – fear of slipping on snow or ice negatively impacts your performance because you can’t land the feet properly. Plus, you can get injured. Adding Yak Tracks or Nanospikes onto your shoes is a good idea. Screw kits are also available at sport apparel stores. The screws go into your shoes to help traction.
  • Socks – wool is the best choice. It pulls the sweat away from your feet while keeping them warm.
  • Leggings – better if worn underneath loose pants that protect you from the wind while your leggings hold in the heat.
  • Hat – we lose a lot of heat from our head.
  • Gloves – keeping your extremities warm is the key to good performance.
  • Winter face mask – the dry, chilly air can cause bronchial spasms which restricts air from filling the lungs. Avoid the chances of burning your respiratory organs – the mask humidifies and warms up the air.

Motivation

Motivation

  • Convince a friend to join you. We are all individuals with our own habits and rituals. To me jogging, swimming, biking – time to reflect, analyze and even dream. I like this me-time. Also, nature provides a break from the stimulus of everyday life which improves positive thinking. Others prefer to have a buddy alongside.
  • Find different routes – otherwise, you could get bored.
  • Calorie burn – good news for those who are seeking for the way to lose a few pounds! Cold air makes your body generate more heat, so you burn extra calories.
  • Don’t make ambitious plans, as I’ve already mentioned it. Don’t set up yourself for a failure – thrive. Praise yourself for completing even short distances.
  • Visualize hitting a home run – figure skaters close their eyes and see the whole program and all jumps done impeccably – they envision success. You should do the same – take a few minutes, picture yourself making powerful strokes, imagine how your whole body is energized and you are on the way to a great jog.

There are no rules on how to run in the cold. But, it definitely requires courage. Regardless of rough weather conditions, put on your gear, turn on the favorite tunes and hit your stride on the trail or sidewalk. Let’s pivot from winter melancholia to lightened-up mood.

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Written by Dasha Yarmolenka
Dasha is a freelance writer and a proud University graduate from Midwest. She is an outdoor lover who embraces mindfulness to find calm in the chaos. Dasha...
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