Cool Runnings: Tips, Tricks & Tools for Better Winter Runs

As we nestle into November, it’s time to curl up by the fire, sip on some cocoa, and get ready to hibernate through the long winter ahead… Oh no wait, we’re actually planning on doing NONE of that. When the weather gets colder, we do the same thing we always do — sweat it out! In fact, this time of year is a great time to go even harder with your workouts. You can warm up through the coldest days, buffer yourself against those holiday calories, and motivate yourself thinking about that upcoming swimsuit season.

But for all you runners out there who love getting out and braving the elements, this could be a bit more of a challenge, especially if you’re dealing with frigid days and Siberian nights. So for all you jogging, sprinting, power-walking winter warriors out there, here are some useful tools, techniques, and tricks to get you through your cold-weather runs. 

Warm Up Before You Head Out

One big issue with cold weather running is that your muscles and joints can get stiff and achy in response to the lower temperatures. And over-exerting your body in this environment may lead to some nasty strains, pulls, and other injuries. By warming yourself up with some dynamic stretching techniques, you’ll be getting your heart rate moving, loosening your body, and raising your body temperature to brace for the cold.

Layer Up!

Obviously, the most important thing to keep you warm and safe on your cold weather runs is your clothing. When it comes to winter running gear, don’t be a hero — lock those short shorts and tank tops away until the spring. But you don’t want to go too far in the opposite direction either: running in heavy clothing can lead to getting overly sweaty, which can also freeze your lil booty off, too! So pick up some smart winter clothes like a jacket with a wind-breaking front and a breathable back, and make sure to cover up any exposed skin with long socks, earmuffs, gloves, and a gaiter around your neck.

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Shoe Hack

Oh, and here’s a clever lil shoe hack. If you’ve got fancy warm weather running shoes with an open and breathable design (that is now freezing your toes), simply use some duct tape to seal off all those air holes! Also, make sure your shoes have good grip because those trails or roads might be icy, and the last thing you need is to slip and pull a hammy.  

Close the Loop

When it comes to running during the winter, you might want to stay as close to home as possible for a couple of reasons: a) if you need to cut your run short because you misjudged just how cold it would be, you can quickly head home to warm up, and b) if you have overdressed and are now a sweaty mess, you can always drop off some layers at the house and continue your run.

Practice Cold Weather Breathing, Sparingly

A nice little trick to help warm the air you take in your lungs (and thus warm your entire body) is to inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. This lengthens the distance the air has to travel to enter your lungs, thereby warming up via your nasal passages and trachea. This should only be done temporarily though, because breathing through your nose typically won’t give you enough oxygen to sustain a full-throttle run. But every now and again you can use this technique to raise your inner temperature.

Don’t Forget to Hydrate

This is a biggie. For some reason, many cold weather runners feel like just because it’s not blazingly hot outside, you don’t need to gulp that H2O. This couldn’t be further from the truth! As we run, we still lose plenty of moisture through perspiration and breathing out water vapor, so make sure you chug the good stuff while you rack those miles. 

But What if it Gets Too Cold?

Now, we’re all about fighting the good fight, breaking down all barriers before us, and coming out on top. But when the temperature drops too low, accounting for the effects of windchill, you’ve gotta start thinking about your safety. But that doesn’t mean throwing in the towel! It means picking it up, and heading indoors for a blistering virtual workout with Studio SWEAT onDemand. We offer tons of streaming fitness classes that you can do in the comfort (and warmth) of your living room, including Spinning, TRX, HIIT, Yoga, Barre, Bootcamp, Pilates, and so much more. We even offer home treadmill workouts! Wanna check us out? Sign up for our 7-Day Free Trial – we promise you’ll be feelin’ the heat in no time!

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