Running in cold weather is the fitness trend we expect to really take off this winter.
Winter is basically here which we can all agree is the hardest time of year to get out there and exercise. The inside is warm! There are cozy blankets and slippers and hot chocolate! But, your body still needs a bit of exercise and if you’re the running type that means a jog outside. To make sure your winter of running in cold weather doesn’t end with you having frostbite we’ve collected the best tips to keep you safe.
1. Warm up inside
Running in cold weather is no picnic. Really, the only reason to do it is if you have no other option and you need to get that run in. Because subjecting your body to extreme cold isn’t the most fun, try to do as much of your routine as possible inside. If you’re a warm up kind of person do it indoors. You can do jumping jacks, jog up and down your stairs, jump rope, whatever you need. Do active stretches that engage, stretch, and tone your muscles before even heading out.
2. Prep your skin for the Sun
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can go out without sunscreen on. Wearing sunscreen makes sure you have some protection against pre-mature skin aging and skin cancer. If you already have sun-related damage, you can read this piece on how to erase sun spots.
3. Prep your skin for the wind and cold
Wind burn is no joke. You could do a whole routine for prepping your skin in the cold but really what you need is a barrier. Enter: Vaseline. Yep! Put Vaseline on your face. We suggest a thin layer and washing it off pretty much immediately when you’re done with your run. Vaseline is petroleum jelly and is an occlusive (meaning it keeps air out). It will help to keep the wind off your skin and hopefully keep you wind burn free.
4. Wear moisture-wicking fabrics
Just imagine being freezing cold, post-run, stuck in wet clothing. You want to make sure your clothes aren’t going to trap that moisture to your body so you’re not bone cold when you’re done. This means cotton is a no go. Look for athletic fabrics with moisture wicking abilities and stay much more comfortable.
5. Don’t forget gloves
The little bit of coverage you get from those kind of sleeves with thumb holes is not enough to keep your hands and fingers protected in the snow. Pop on a pair of gloves and make sure you don’t get frost bit fingertips.
6. Get snow spikes
If you are at any point likely to run on snow or ice, snow spikes for your shoes are a good idea. It gives you extra traction so you don’t slip and fall.
7. Wear shoes without mesh
Don’t want snow in your shoes? Don’t wear shoes with mesh. Or if you need that foot ventilation, make sure it’s from a product like Gore Tex which is waterproof. These Adidas running shoes are cute, have that Gore Tex ventilation and have high traction soles.
8. Opt for ear muffs over a knit hat
There is a time and a place for the hat lovingly knit by your grandma and it isn’t when you’re running. Any material that doesn’t do that moisture wicking action we were talking about (like cotton or acrylic) is going to keep your skin wet which can be uncomfortable when you’re running. Ear muffs are less likely to get saturated and will keep your ears toasty. Running in cold weather requires serious gear.
9. Cover your neck
Really you don’t want much exposed skin at all. One often forgotten place when running is your neck. Wear turtle necks if you have them or a cool athletic scarf like this one. It’s multi purpose too! You can use it as a headband or a face mask if you need it.
10. Use a face mask if you cough in the cold
That dry winter air can cause people to cough when they walk outside, let alone run. If this sounds like you, use a face mask or a cowl like this one to cover your nose and mouth. This way your breath will warm and humidify the air and you’ll be less likely to have a coughing fit.
11. Change out of wet clothes ASAP
Cold wet clothes are zero fun. Change out of your damp clothes as soon as you can when you’re done running. You’ll be able to warm up much more quickly in dry clothes over wet.
12. Cool down inside
Need to stretch it out? Do it inside. Really the only reason to exercise outside when it’s freezing cold is when it’s not possible to do it inside. So, anything related to your run that you can do inside you should! Staying out in frigid temperatures isn’t really necessary for longer than the run itself, so do yourself a favor and make running in cold weather more tolerable.
13. Warm up with a hot drink
If you’re still feeling chilled after you’re in clean dry clothes have a nice hot cup of tea! It will rehydrate your body (still needed even after exercising in the cold) and warm you up.
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