If youÂ prefer exercisingÂ indoors, your workout routine may not be affected byÂ colder months. But for runners who'd rather pound the pavement thanÂ log miles on aÂ treadmill, there are some serious safety factors to consider when the temperature drops. Weâre all for exercising in the great outdoorsÂ come rain, shine, or snow.Â But to make sure weâre staying as smart as we are fit, we spoke with running coach Jenny Hadfield to get herÂ expert tips on running safelyÂ all winter long.
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Dress for the occasion
When running in the cold, your first instinct is probably to bundle up in every piece of workoutÂ clothing you own. But before goingÂ overboard with layers, pause and considerÂ your outfit choice. Aim to dressÂ for temperatures 15-20 degrees warmer than the current weather to account for your body heat, advisesÂ Hadfield. âYou should feel chilled when you walk out the door," she says. "If youâre toasty, head back in and remove a layer."Â She recommends putting together a winter running wardrobe that includesÂ a shell jacket, long sleeve tech shirt, tech tights, gloves, wicking socks, and a hat or headband.
Keep all eyes on you
Between limited daylight hours and snowy conditions, it can be hard for cars to see you during winter runs. Thatâs whenÂ reflective gear becomes essential. Hadfield recommends investing in a few pieces of reflective and bright running apparel. If you donât want to splurge on new clothes, at least consider addingÂ a reflective vest or small strobelightÂ to your attire.
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âRegular running shoes can do the trick on dry winter days," says Hadfield. "But when the snow and slush strikes, consider going with a GORE-TEXÂ version to keep your feet dry.â She also recommends wearing a traction device like Yak Trax to keep you from taking a nasty tumble in the snow.
Switch-up your stride
Another way to stay upright and smiling during your winter run is to adjust your form. On snowy days, Hadfield advisesÂ shortening your stride and keeping your feet low to the ground. âYou will run more efficiently and reduce the risk of slipping, falling or straining muscles,â she says. When itâs possible, run through fresh snow over packed, and always keep an eye out for sneaky ice-covered obstacles.
Run like the wind
Start your run by bravely facing the wind head-on. While this isnât the most pleasant way to begin your trek, you'llÂ avoid getting chilled by a headwind on the way home, says Hadfield. Take this as an opportunity to mix up your usual running route, and have fun exploring new parts of the neighborhood.
Donâ€™t be too cool
âAlthough itâs possible to run in sub-zero temperatures, when the weather gets extreme, itâs best to take it indoors to get a safe and quality workout,â says Hadfield. So even if youâre not a fan of the treadmill, under certain conditions like extreme wind chill or during a blizzard or snowstorm, itâs logically a better choice.Â A treadmill workout reduces theÂ risk of slipping on ice or straining a muscle when tensing in cold weather.
Whether you decide to stay inside or brave the chilly outdoors, these tips will help keep you safe and (mostly) warm during your winter workout.