Forgot username?     |     Forgot password?

Show Blog Categories
Hide Blog Categories
January 23, 2014

When You Need to Run Outside

Written by Dena Evans

jumping_dude

 In the midst of the second “polar vortex” this winter, running inside might become the rule rather than the exception.  Typical winter weather, however, when not quite so harsh, does allow for some outside running, particularly if following a few common sense guidelines about how to stay healthy and safe.

 

Plan ahead

Running in the winter demands good planning for the actual run, but also some foresight for the aftermath.  If you are coming straight in the house, then jumping in a warm shower and sighing “ahhhh” is no problem. But, if you must drive home, or have another stop on the way, it is essential to plan for dry and warm clothes along with your usual fluids and snack.  You also need a place where you can change. A car that is shielded enough to change inside, or a bathroom/ locker room that is appropriate and safe for the same purpose is worth planning ahead for when deciding where to park and run.

 

Layer it up

While actually running, a snug under layer with moisture wicking capabilities, topped by a thicker or wind-blocking layer can often do the trick, with either a third layer between or a vest on top to keep the core cozy as needed.  A loose layer underneath allows the wind to whistle through (burr!), and allows the sweat you’ve produced to stay wet against your skin.  Sometimes that may be tolerable during the run, but then chill you to the bone a few minutes after stopping.

 

Your body will heat up during the run, so a down jacket and two scarves is probably not necessary.  It is ok to start the run without feeling cozy as you will be feeling fine once you move around for several minutes. On the other hand, if you are as warm as you could ever want when you start, the increased body heat will very possibly leave you feeling hot, sweaty, and stifled halfway through your run, at which point you will likely be running around with a thick layer tied around your waist or just sweating like crazy at a time when you need to be hydrated.

 

Ease into it

For most middle-aged athletes, warming up slowly is an essential part of a training routine that avoids injury.  In the winter cold, this becomes even more important.  While we do not recommend a bunch of static stretching for cold muscles before you head out, we do recommend taking the first few minutes of your training run or warm up loop to prepare your body for the desired mid-run / workout pace.  You may cringe when looking at your GPS device, but the most important thing is to avoid the needless aches and pains that take you out of action completely.

 

Watch your step

We always recommend traveling on safe, well-lit routes, but in the winter, this is crucial.  For those that must run in the dark, it is important to be even more vigilant about the perils of black ice and other pitfalls of the winter road.  Running in the daylight is strongly recommended, and running with a partner or group should be much more of a priority.  Particularly if your run is on snow, a device like Yaktrax can be a simple and cost effective tool to assist with traction. Be careful not to cut it close on roads with minimal shoulder or crossings where you have to hustle to beat the light or other traffic passing on the road.  The risks are great, and the conditions are even less under your control.  Always err on the safe side.

 

Don’t skimp on the details

In the winter, the aforementioned warm shower or a quick dive into the car to drive home can be tantalizing.  Because of the tougher conditions, rolling, stretching post-run, hydrating, and refueling after training take on even greater importance, even as they are often skipped due to freezing fingers, howling winds, or other discomfort.  Budgeting even 5-10 minutes for the care and feeding of your body after a run can help increase the chances your training cycle remains intact throughout the tough winter months, and can help build good habits that will serve you well even when the weather is 70 degrees and sunny.

Movecoach is a brand owned by Focus-N-Fly, Inc Copyright 2019