Running in a Winter Wonderland

by Mackenzie M. | December 27th, 2011 | Running

As an avid runner, I find the frigid winter winds and brisk air anything but motivators for going on a long run, if any run at all. In Louisiana, it rarely dips below 50 degrees, but I currently find myself in the frigid North, where running in winter can be anything but an easy task; however, it still remains important to run during these winter months, especially if you are already on a strict running regimen, or are striving for a great beach body to debut this summer.

Many exercise specialists offer tips to make running in the winter doable, and I have listed five of these below.

Motivation. The most important factor when attempting to run during the winter is motivation. Experts from across Canada recommend setting up a running date with one of your friends, making it much harder to back out, even when it is 17 degrees. Many northern cities also have marathons during the winter to keep their runners motivated and happy. A great motivation to run this winter can be preparing for a beach vacation or the warm days of summer.

Dress Appropriately. When going for a run in the dead of winter, it is important to dress as if the temperature is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is, to allow some sweating. This will help avoid getting a chill. Always be sure to wear gloves or mittens and a hat, and make an effort to wear fabrics that will wick sweat away from your body. Getting clothing with zippers near the neck and underarms is also important to release heat, as you get warmer.

For the Feet. Feet need to be given attention when planning a run outside in winter. Be sure to wear shoe with as little mesh as possible that will keep warmth in, and snow and slush out. Also, be sure to wear socks that wick away wetness and keep the feet warm. When your feet are happy, you will be sure to have a rewarding run.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race. Running in the winter is not about how fast you can go, or the most distance you can cover in the shortest amount of time. Running is more about keeping your body used to movement, and staying in shape, not winning a race against yourself. If you usually run very long distances, try splitting it up into two shorter segments to avoid getting too cold toward the end of a long run.

Change Quickly. As soon as you stop running, your core body temperature will begin to drop. If clothes are not changed right away, they can cause a prolonged chill. To avoid any complications, remove running clothes quickly. This means changing out of damp bras, underwear, shorts, socks, and any other piece of clothing worn while running.

Finally, reward yourself after a run in the winter. Maybe relax in a coffee shop, or bring a thermos of green tea and a snack in the car.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.