Many people have dug out their running gear again with lockdown 3.0 in full swing. Things are now different though. It is not T-shirt and shorts weather anymore. But with a huge number of beginner runners this year, you will have to go about your running tactics differently. Below are the sections we all need to consider when running in winter weather conditions.
Dress for the weather
In the summer it’s easy to throw your shorts, t-shirt and trainers on and go for a run. In the winter you may be tempted to do the same and think you will warm up when running. This is true to a degree but leaves you vulnerable to injury, you will cool down a lot quicker also once stopped. The opposite is also true. Being bundled in layers and layers of clothing to go for a run can make you overheat easily. You need to dress appropriately for winter runs. Think about investing in the following clothing items.
- Leggings – help keep your legs protected from the elements.
- Correct footwear – Trail running trainers are a good idea for extra grip in icy conditions. Also, wearing trainers with little mesh will help keep the heat in and the slush out.
- Thin jacket – A wind proof jacket is ideal for cold temperatures. It provides a very thin layer of protection on top of your base layer, which helps lock in a little bit of heat to keep your core temperature steady.
- Gloves – Running gloves are available in most sports clothing stores and very cheap to buy. These should be the first item out as the weather starts to change after summer.
- Hat or headband – Not for everybody as you can overheat quite easily with a hat on. But it is always a good idea to have one with you in your pocket. Personally, I start with my hat on to keep my ears warm and as I get warm, I will put it away in my jacket pocket.
- Headlamp/reflective strips– With many of your winter days being dark a light and reflective strip are essential for your safety. On the roads you need to be visible and if you go off road you will need to see where you are putting your feet.
Warmup pre run
The cold doesn’t feel so cold when you’re warm. Completing a warmup inside before you go out can help prevent injury and get blood flowing around the body ready for a run. Make sure your warmup doesn’t make you break into a sweat. The last thing you want to when it’s cold is damp/wet clothes.
Avoid snow/ice and slush if possible
Be smart. If there is a lot of snow and slush on roads or footpaths, find areas to run where there is very little traffic, even if you must drive to these areas. Try not to run during rush hour – you will not win against a car.
Keeping one eye on the ground and planning where your next foot will land is important in icy conditions. We don’t want any injuries due to slipping on ice.
Running in the dark
- Stay visible – wearing reflective gear and head lamp is essential for staying safe on the roads. Make sure cars can see you coming. The head lamp will give you visibility on the ground to watch where you are placing your feet.
- Run against traffic – When running in poor light, always run against the traffic so you can see any potential dangers coming.
- Tell someone where you are going or take your phone – taking your phone or telling someone where you are going can help locate you if you do get in any trouble. Apps like Strava have features such as beacon which generates a unique URL that you can share with your safety contacts via text message, allowing them to follow your activity in real-time.
Change quickly once finished
You will quickly lose body temperature once you stop running. Always bring a change of clothes with you if you are driving to keep warm and return to your normal temperature gradually. Once you’re home get a warm drink and shower and relax.