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How to Run in the Outdoors During Cold Weather

During mid-winter, the temperature falls to the minimum, and the daylight hours reduce as well. These changes can be intimidating for people that engage in outdoor workouts.  But you don’t have to go back on your commitment to healthy living because of the cold. In fact, you can take advantage of the chilling temperatures to boost your energy levels, endurance, and exercise intensity. 

We have prepared a guide that helps you continue workout during winter without posing any risk to your health and comfort. Here are the tips.

Use the Treadmill

Honestly, there would be days when the temperatures are too chill to go outdoors. At such times, you could just postpone your intensive workouts to another day. Do you have a treadmill? Why not just cover the usual mileage on the treadmill.  Your machine can help you record the miles you cover on it.

Cold Weather Running Clothes

You need to get a special kit for running in the cold weather. Your workout kit should consist of several layers of lightweight, breathable clothing.  The layers should be thick enough to ward off the cold. You should also be able to remove the clothing easily when the weather gets warmer.

The first layer should be made from a thin, synthetic, breathable material.  The fabric should allow sweat to move out of the body through its fiber. Cotton fabric is not appropriate here because it retains moisture, which will make you feel cold.

Above this layer, wear a light water-resistant jacket that allows easy transfer of moisture. It serves multiple purposes, including preventing the chilling cold, avoiding overheating, and protecting you from the wind and rain.

If the two layers are not enough to provide the warmth you need, you should add a middle layer. Perhaps a material made from fleece for additional warmth and insulation.

Your dressing for winter jogging is not complete without protecting your legs. Wear tracksuit bottom, leggings, or other running tights. After that, you can wear running shorts over it.

Finally, you will have to protect your hands and feet as well. For that, you can wear a pair of glove and a wicking sock liner to keep your hands and feet warm as you run. During extremely cold weather, wearing a jacket with a hood, or using a scarf/face mask might be necessary.

Don’t forget that once you start jogging, your body will start generating heat, and you are going to get warmer. So, it is necessary to feel a bit cold at the beginning. On the other hand, if you are warm when you start jogging, you will start feeling hot and uncomfortable a few minutes after you start running. That is why you should not overdress.

Most runners follow a rule to maintain temperatures 10-20 degrees warmer than the surrounding.

Make Sure You Are Visible

Low visibility is another challenge you’ll have to deal with during the winter season. To remain visible, you need to wear a light-colored fabric, which is also reflective. This type of attire will make it easy for drivers to spot you in the dark or foggy weather.  A full fluorescent jacket and running tight is a safety net for runners during winter.

Don’t Stay in Your Wet Clothes!

Whether you are drenched by the rain, snow, or your own sweat, there are times when you will return from jogging soaked. And when you get wet in low temperatures, it makes your body even cooler. This can lead to hypothermia, a condition where a person experiences fatigue and shivers uncontrollably. To safeguard your health, change your soaked clothing immediately you return home from your training session. Better still, you can take a warm drink and/or hot soup to bring back the heat.

Importance of Warm Up and Cool Down

In cold weather, you must perform warm-up and cool-down exercise sessions to safeguard your health. Since the biting cold increases the risk of pulling a muscle while running, you should take time to warm up your muscles before running.

An excellent approach is to start out walking, or performing light jogging to warm up the muscles. After that, you can increase your pace to the speed you want to maintain throughout the run. When it is about 10 minutes to completing the run, decrease your speed gently to a walking or jogging pace before you stop.  Perform any further stretch or exercise indoors to avoid getting too cold.


Wear The Right Footwear

If you are running during winter, you should expect to cross frozen paths, some deep puddles, and muddy places. So, apart from wearing the right type of running trainers, you should stick to waterproof and weatherproof footwear. The shoes should also have a firm grip to keep you safe and comfortable while running. Check your local sports shop for running trainers which are ice-resistant, designed for cold climate. If you think your current running kit is not tough enough for the weather, go and buy another one.

Be Aware of Frostbite

People staying outdoors during winter stands at a high risk of frostbite. That is why you should be mindful of your fingers, toes, lips, ears, and nose. They might be cold when you start running, but will eventually get warmer after some minutes.

In a scenario where a part of your body feels cold and hard, give it a closer look to make sure it is not frostbite. If the affected part is turning red and blister, it is an indication of frostbite. It will eventually turn white and blue. You should get out of the cold immediately and consult your health professional who can warm up the affected area systematically.  It is important not to put pressure on the affected area before seeking medical help.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

When the environment is cold, you will still lose body fluid through sweating when you run. That is why you should drink water to keep yourself hydrated. Drink water before you start running, while you are running, and after you’ve completed the run.

Consult a Healthcare Professional

Your health and safety are important. That is why you should consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before embarking on any type of exercise routine. There are instances where runners slum as a result of an asthma attack or chest pain while running. That is why you should make sure you are physically fit before embarking on a race.

Sunscreen & Lip Protection

Do you know that you can get a sunburn while running during winter? Yes, in spite of the low temperate, the risk of sunburn still abounds. So, you should apply sunscreen to the exposed part of your body. You should also wear polarized to prevent the glare from the snow. Don’t forget to use a balm on your lips to prevent it from getting chapped by the cold wind.


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