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John's Running Tips

Winter Running

Take pleasure in the special joy of being the first to make fresh footsteps in the snow. Don't pass up the excitement of a crisp sunny run through the early morning or the delight of an evening run through the darkness as large snowflakes float through the stillness of the evening. Building a snowman in the fresh snow can add a new cross-training regime to your winter workout, so loosen up and enjoy the winter. It's a fact those cold winter days build character—the kind you can use in the late stages of a long run. If you are feeling rough, think back to the challenges you overcame during those long winter runs.

    Winter Running Tips
  • Adjust the intensity of your workout.
  • Up to 50% of body heat is lost through the head, so keep it covered.
  • Warm up properly, start your runs at a comfortable pace and slowly build up to a pace slower than your normal training pace.
  • Shorten your stride to improve your footing on icy roads. Wear Get a Grip Ice Joggers over the soles of your shoes for greater traction.
  • Carry a phone so you can make a call or carry cab fare in your shoe or pocket.
  • Wind chill does not measure temperature; it measures the rate of cooling. On a day with high wind chill, prepare for the wind.
  • Run into the wind for the first part of your run and with the wind on the return portion.
  • When running by yourself, run in a loop in case you need to cut the run short.
  • On your first few runs on snow or ice, you may experience slight muscle soreness in the legs, because your supporting muscles are working harder to control your slipping.
  • Cover all exposed skin with clothing or skin lotion. If you or your running partner have exposed skin, be aware of each other to prevent frostbite.
  • In the winter it's dark, so wear reflective gear and run facing the traffic in order to be more visible.
  • Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Drink water on any run over 45 minutes.
  • Use a lip protector like Chap-stick and Body Glide on your lips, nose and ears.
  • Gentlemen, protect your future generation—wear a wind brief.
  • Our beauty tips for those dry hands: petroleum jelly on the hands helps keep them warm and makes a great moisturizer.
  • Do your speed work indoors on dry surfaces.
  • Be aware of hypothermia for both yourself and those running with you. Hypothermia is a drop in your core body temperature. Signs of hypothermia include incoherent, slurred speech, clumsy fingers and poor coordination. At the first sign, get to a warm, dry place and seek medical attention. You are more likely to experience difficulty on a wet and windy day.
  • Do not accelerate or decelerate quickly in the cold weather.
  • Make sure your changes in direction are gradual to avoid slipping or pulling muscles that are not properly warmed up.
  • Freezing your lungs is just not possible. The air is sufficiently warmed by the body prior to entering the lungs. If you find the cold air uncomfortable, wear a face mask; it will help warm the air.
  • Wear a single pair of thermax socks to stay warm. These look just like the coolmax socks but will keep you warm rather than cool.
  • Take your wet clothes off and get dry ones on as soon as possible.
  • Wear your water bottle under your jacket to keep it from freezing. Without the perceived sense of thirst you need to drink a sip every 10 minutes
  • Review runner safety. Safety is even more important in the winter with less light and far more ice and other obstacles on the running paths and roads.
  • Wear three layers: base layer, insulating layer and windproof shell. Some clothing is quite efficient, such as Fit-Wear, and if you have this then two layers will suffice.
  • Run small loops close to your home base. If you find it is getting unbearable, you will not be too far away from shelter.
  • Tell someone where you are going (route map) and give that person an idea of your approximate time of arrival.


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