I think we can officially say that winter is here… my mom told me that they were near 0* in Wisconsin (brr) and down in Austin, we are in the 30s and under a Winter Storm Warning because of the potential for rain/ice/sleet/snow. 

Winter weather brings a new challenge for running. Slippery streets, cold extremities and frozen (or turned off) bubblers water fountains along the way. Here are my tips for running in winter weather.

 

Layers, layers, layers. Layers are SO important when it comes to running outside in the winter. By layering your clothes, you have a defense against the wind that can cut right through you. My favorite is to wear a windbreaker on top of these layers for extra protection. Under Armour has some of the best cold weather gear around… they know how to make the stuff! 

{just don’t wear as many as Randy in A Christmas Story… arms sticking straight out is not a good look}

 

Warm up your muscles. I am not very good at stretching before I go for a run (I do four exercises that take approximately three minutes total). However, it is important to warm up your muscles before running in winter weather. Do some dynamic stretching (Frankenstein walk, skip back and forth in your home, etc.), walk for a bit once outside and run a little slower for your first 1/4 or 1/2 mile to warm up. 

 

Cover the extremities. Your toes, ears and fingers are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather. Make sure you have the right gear for them! Wear extra thick cushiony running socks. For gloves, I like to buy the ones that are $1 at Target and take them off once my hands warm up. For my ears, I get too hot if I wear a true winter headband so instead I wear a Bondi Band. It provides warmth and if it gets too warm, I can wear it the way its meant to be — as a headband.

 

Be picky about your steps. Slipping and falling is bad news bears and definitely not something that you want to do… thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious! That’s why, if you are running outside in slippery conditions, be choosy about wear you step. Don’t worry about your time — in fact, if it will drive you nuts to see a slower pace, leave the GPS at home so you can concentrate on your foot falls. If you live in ice and snow, think about getting some Yaktrax to add to your shoes.

 

Wear lights and reflective gear. 

 

Winter is generally a darker time of year, the sun (if it makes an appearance) goes down faster… so make sure you have lights and reflective gear. Even if it is in the middle of the day. It will make you easier to see in any weather conditions (and hey, you’re wearing layers, what’s a reflective vest on top of that?).

 

Set your boundaries. I will not run in weather where the “feels like” is below 0*. This is my personal preference. I feel like it’s just too cold for me at that point. Do what’s comfortable for you, but know that at that point, you will not go for a run for your personal safety. Do an alternative workout in your home or head to the gym. Or maybe take a rest day, drink some hot chocolate and watch the snow fall… 

 

What are your tips for running in winter weather?

Is there a temperature or weather condition that you will not run in?

 

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