Running in Cold Weather

Even though we see a lot more enthusiasm for running in the warmer months of the year, the reality is that it’s not a seasonal sport - meaning you can continue going on runs even when the weather stops being nice to us all. Having said that, one could argue that there are many differences between running in the winter as opposed to in the summer and spring. Starting from the clothes you should wear to the way you should fuel and how you should prepare, running in cold weather often requires much more dedication from your end. 

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In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about running in the winter - from the benefits you get to the clothing recommendations. And if that is something you want to learn more about, then stick around and continue reading. 

The Must-Knows of Winter Running 

As we already mentioned, there are a lot of details you should pay attention to when preparing to go for your winter runs. In the list below, we’ve noted the most important ones so that you don’t get too lost in the sea of too-long blog posts online. Additionally, we’ve also added a few of the benefits you get from running in the cold - so that you have extra motivation to do so. 

Dress Appropriately  

A general tip you will hear from most runners is to take the daily temperature you have, add ten degrees, and then dress for that kind of weather. That’s because, during running, as your heart rate spikes and you begin to sweat, your body temperature rises, and naturally, you start warming up. That’s why you should allow yourself to feel a tiny bit cold as you first start the run, but don’t worry - that feeling will disappear in around 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how quickly you get warmed up. That being said, accessories such as running gloves for cold weather (specifically), a hat, and good thermal socks remain a must - after all, you don’t want your legs and hands freezing. 

Wear the Right Type of Shoes

In the summer, you want lightweight, breathable shoes - ones with loads of mesh that let the air in and allow your feet to breathe. In winter, you want the exact opposite - you want your running shoes to have a minimal amount of mesh, and you want them to have a sole that prevents you from slipping and sliding, either on wet leaves or possibly on any piece of ice. Many brands make Gore-Tex upper shoes for colder and rainy weather, which makes them the perfect choice for your winter/autumn shoes. To go along with that, you can also choose socks that keep wetness away but keep your feet warm, preferably ones made with non-itchy wool, the kind used for winter sports. 

Change As Soon As You Can Postrun 

As soon as you’re done with your run, your body temperature will start to drop. And if you’re dressed like it's ten degrees warmer than it actually is, you need to find a way to change your clothes - head to toe, in order to avoid getting a case of the chills and potentially developing a cold. For women, it's vital to get rid of their bras quickly and to put a beanie over their wet hair. An additional tip is to drink something hot - a coffee, hot chocolate, or some tea.

Benefits of Winter Running 

Besides the typical benefits associated with running, such as overall better cardiovascular health, there are many others that specifically apply to the colder months of the year. Let’s check them out. 

Helps with Seasonal Depression

As the days get shorter and colder, especially those months prior to and after Christmas, we all start feeling a bit down and out. The excitement of summer is gone, and now we’re faced with more time inside, cold and seasonal illnesses that catch most of us. Going out for runs is a great way to battle those feelings, as the endorphins you get from running will help you feel more enthusiastic and excited about life, even if the weather is not exactly helping. 

Allows Your Body to Adjust to Winter 

As you repeatedly encounter a cold without any danger to your life, your body learns to deal with the cold weather better in a process called cold habituation. That way, you will feel warmer and less stressed throughout the colder month - a benefit we all enjoy. 

In Conclusion

Running is definitely not a seasonal sport, so you’re not limited to participating in it only when the weather is sunny and nice. However, as you’ve learned from this article, winter running does require extra preparation, and it’s vital to keep that in mind before going on your first run.

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