How to Run in the Winter

Many joggers head for an indoor treadmill when the snow falls, the day shortens and the temperatures drop. Some even head for a couch. But there’s no need to become a couch potato during the winter. You can keep running all winter long as long as you plan ahead.

What to Wear
Some joggers keep wearing shorts even when temperatures start getting lower. Some people have a higher tolerance to cold than others. However, be careful of frostbite. A better solution might be to wear shorts with tights so you don’t expose any bare skin which could get frost bitten.

You can also wear sweat pants. Make sure they’re not too heavy, though. You will generate a lot of body heat once you start running. Wearing sweat pants which are too heavy will make you feel sweaty and sluggish.

Be sure to wear a woolen hat or a light hoodie. Some runners like hats; others prefer hoods. The choice is yours so long as you protect your ears.

Wear light gardening gloves on your hands. This protects your hands against frostbite. Heavy mittens or gloves will make your hands sweat.

Keep wearing your running shoes. Some joggers run in boots. However, you run the risk of slipping and falling. Your running shoes give you adequate traction and balance.

Running on Ice and Snow
The first rule of running on ice and snow is simple: don’t do it. Icy sidewalks are an accident waiting to happen. Likewise, freezing rain or sleet will also make sidewalks and trails icy. Don’t run during these weather conditions. Make sure you allow a couple of hours for the ice to melt before running – assuming the temperatures warm up enough for ice to melt.

Running in light snow is like running in a light rain: no big deal. Slow your pace in case there’s a few slick spots. Otherwise, just run through the light snow, and you should be fine.

However, heavy snow is not safe to run through. A heavy snowfall can make it difficult for you to see where you are going. Snow may accumulate quickly, making the path slippery. Snow may fall so quickly that you will find yourself slogging through it – not a safe situation to be in.

After a snowfall, wait a few hours for people to clear their sidewalks before going for a run. Unfortunately, some people are slow to shovel or never both to shovel at all. If this happens, head to a public park. Most park employees do a good job of keeping trail paths plowed and salted all winter long.

You should be able to run all winter long even on cold days. However, if the temperature dips below zero degrees Fahrenheit, be extra careful. Make sure all your skin is covered including your face. Wear a ski mask or scarf over your face. You may want to cut your run short on these days.

A below zero day may be a good excuse for you to head inside and run on the treadmill. There’s no shame in doing so. And you won’t have to worry about getting frost bite.

This article was based on my experiences as a runner who lives in Upstate New York – which can get very chilly during the winter season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


+ 6 = twelve