Tips for Running in the Winter
Running is one of the most popular sports in the country. It requires little gear, no membership, and you can run anywhere. As long as you have a pair of shoes and some time, you can run. That is, unless you live in the Northeast. Running in the summer around Saratoga Springs is amazing. One can get lost running by old victorians, through the Saratoga Spa State Park or through the Saratoga Battlefield. The winter months can make you think twice about your choice of exercise. If you’re determined to continue training, here are a few tips.
If you are like most people, your running times are either early in the morning or after work which means you’ll likely be running in the dark. We suggest you wear reflective gear on the middle of your body, and somewhere on your arms or legs. If you want to go the extra mile (no pun intended), wear a headlamp as well. Snowbanks may also prevent drivers from seeing you so be alert when you are crossing streets or going into traffic.
Most running shoes are designed with mesh to keep your feet cool. In the winter, you want shoes that have the least amount of mesh. This will not only keep your feet warm, but keep out the snow and water. Of course, you also want a good pair of socks to go with those shoes and we recommend non-itchy wool socks.
Dressing in layers is key. The air trapped between the layers is warmed by your body and acts as insulation. The biggest thing is to dress as if it were about 20 degrees warmer. You don’t want to sweat too much when you are running in the cold. That could lead to chills when you are done.
Warming up before you head outside will make those first few minutes less stressful on your body. In other words, the cold won’t feel as cold. Especially since you were just told to dress as if it were warmer. Doing body-weight squats or lunges are a good way to get the blood flowing through your legs.
Running outside means facing obstacles you may not know are there. Slipping is a serious danger for anyone who ventures outside in the winter months. Make sure you slow down your pace, take shorter strides, and strike the ground with a flat foot. This will help minimize the risk of slipping.
Post run recovery
After you are finished your run it is important to get out of your sweaty or wet clothes and put some dry warm clothes on. After exercise, your core temperature drops and puts you at risk for getting chills. Once you are in dry clothes, it is a good idea to drink warm fluids or have some soup. This will help you hydrate and warm your body.
If you are not interested in running in the cold or if conditions are too dangerous, the treadmill is a good alternative. To get the most out of the treadmill, put it at a 1% incline. If the treadmill has built-in fans, turn them on high as well. The incline activates the muscles required to propel you forward while the fans activate the sensory cells on your skin and remind your brain of running outside.
Whether you run in the cold, snowy weather or inside on the treadmill, it is important to stay hydrated, stretch, and take care of injuries as soon as they start. At our Saratoga Springs chiropractic office, we offer free injury screens and would be happy to answer your questions about running.