How to Prepare for Cold Weather Runs
Running in cold weather can be extremely challenging if you’re not adequately prepared. Due to blood flow restriction, cold weather running can increase your chances of cramping, muscle spasms, and joint injuries. Because of this, it’s important to dress warmly, warm-up, and stretch.
What to Wear
Layering is key! Wear a base layer made out of a material that will absorb sweat and keep it away from your body (i.e. Nike Dri-Fit, Under Armour spandex, and Adidas Cool Max). Add insulating layers, such as pants and a sweatshirt, and then a weatherproof layer if necessary.
I can’t stress the importance of warming up enough, no matter the weather. Your body needs time to slowly adjust to exercise in order to get blood moving to the various parts of the body. Warming up will help you transition into your run, as well as loosen up muscles which will help you avoid injury. Your warm-up should last between 15 to 25 minutes total, and should consist of both cardio and stretching. Don’t exhaust yourself! This is JUST a warm-up!
I suggest the following:
- 10 pushups
- 10 squats
- 10 side lunges (each leg)
- 10 Sumo squats
- 10 side-to-side leg swings (each leg)
- 10 front-to-back leg swings (each leg)
You should hold each stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds and repeat two to three times.
- Standing hamstring stretch
- Side lunge
- Standing quad stretch
- Standing calf stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Chest stretch
- Lying glute stretch
Tips for During and After Your Run
During: Reduced blood flow also keeps your muscles from warming up as fast as they normally would, so pace yourself at the beginning of your run and give your body more time to warm up before you kick into your race pace.
After: Don’t stay in wet clothes! If you get wet from rain or sweat and sit in your clothes for a prolonged period of time, you’re putting yourself at risk for hypothermia. To avoid this risk, change your wet clothes immediately after your run and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible. If you show signs of hypothermia, such as shivering, impaired coordination, slurred speech, and fatigue, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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