It's getting colder out, but just because the temperature is beginning to dip doesn't mean that you should put your running dreams on hold; check out the top five tips for running in the winter so your fitness routine isn't left out in the cold. At the first sign of a snowflake, many runners resign themselves to several months of treadmill work at the gym, while others simply take a vacation from their running altogether. Believe it or not, you can safely run in the outdoors even when things get really chilly. As long as you take certain precautions, running outdoors in the winter can actually be quite refreshing. Read on for some winter inspiration!
One of the biggest motivators that runners can have is a running buddy. This holds true no matter what time of year it may be, but is especially helpful in the winter, when excuses are easier to listen to. Get your running partner involved with setting up a running schedule, and set a particular time and place to meet on a regular basis to go running. This allows both of you to stick to the plan for the other's sake. Having a buddy along on your run increases your safety, as well: you have another set of eyes to watch out for patches of ice!
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for your winter run is to wear the right clothing. Even though it may be chilly outside, your level of activity should warm you up quite a bit, so don't overdress. Many winter runners advocate the use of a layering system for a running wardrobe. The outer layer should consist of clothing that will protect you from the wind, while subsequent inner layers should help to wick away moisture and sweat and keep you dry. You should also remember to bring along a hat, gloves and sunglasses to prevent snow glare.
In addition to wearing the right clothes, you should also be mindful of the shoes you wear while winter running. To keep the chill out, avoid shoes with mesh uppers and look for footwear that incorporates material such as Gore Tex. In addition, you'll want shoes that offer maximum traction and grip; this is especially important in areas that see large accumulations of ice.
In the winter months, daylight can be at a premium. Because of the many hours of dark and dusk, it's extremely important to wear plenty of reflective elements to make yourself seen and noticed by passing cars. Equipment such as flashing bike lights, head lamps and clothing with reflective elements are all important pieces of gear for the winter runner.
In order to avoid having your muscles cramp up at an inopportune time, try to perform most of your warm-ups in the warmth of your house. Activities such as thorough stretches, a quick set of jumping rope, jogging up and down your stairs and a couple of pushups are all great moves to get the blood flowing and your heart pumping.