9 Cold-Weather Running Hacks

Beauty + Style, Fitness, Fitness Gear + Fashion, Lifestyle, Running Workouts

By: // February 6, 2020

This post is sponsored by Wahl Wellness. All opinions are my own. 

For running aficionados, an outdoor winter run can be truly exhilarating. Exercise-induced endorphins coupled with fresh air and Vitamin D can leave you feeling ready to conquer the world.

Plus, running outdoors in the cold actually comes with its own benefits!

Advantages of cold-weather running include enhanced endurance and mental edge through braving the elements, plus you burn more calories in the cold since your body has to use additional energy to generate heat.

While working out in cold weather can be wonderful, there are also certain things to watch out for, such as slipping on the ice, frostbite or muscle injury or strain due to improper care.

For us native Minnesotans, there are a few (okay, sometimes six) months out of the year when outdoor running becomes more complicated and less triumphant, but the truth is, cold weather doesn’t have to be a barrier to getting in a solid run and there are ways to make sure your outdoor run is safe and effective

With the proper gear and these nine cold-weather running hacks, you can conquer your run despite the chill.

1) Massage muscles to prevent injury and strain.

Wahl Hot/Cold Therapy Massager laying on gym floor with weights in the background

The need to warm up your muscles becomes even more critical in cold weather which is why the Wahl Hot/Cold Therapy Massager is a great option. The heat therapy increases blood flow and loosens muscles, while the cold therapy is used to reduce muscle swelling and inflammation, and massage helps to relieve muscle tension and soreness.

If you find that it takes your body a while to adjust to the cold temperatures outside, using a hand-held massage tool before you hit the road is a great way to aid in this process; and likewise, a post-run massage is great for relieving tension, reducing pain, decreasing swelling and improving blood circulation.

2) Keep your hands and feet covered…

Sounds obvious, right? But we can’t stress this enough: our extremities are the places where we naturally lose the most warmth, so they’re the most important things to keep covered on outdoor runs.

Make sure your toes stay toasty with high-quality socks like Smartwool, which wick away moisture as opposed to cotton socks which hold in moisture and make your feet cold and clammy. Toe warmers are also a great option for especially blistery days.

Select proper shoes with the least amount of mesh (we like Gore-Tex) to keep out slush. You can also grab hand warmers and stick them inside your gloves to stay extra warm.

3)…but dress 15-20 degrees warmer than it actually is.

While you want to be prepared for the elements, you do want to dress as if it’s 15-20 degrees warmer outside than it actually is.

On a brutal zero degree day, this doesn’t make a ton of difference, but when it’s 20 degrees or above, keep it in mind so you don’t start your run in a parka and find yourself tearing it off mid-way through.

You need to dress to compensate for how your body will warm up as you run.

4) Do an indoor warm-up.

Woman stretching indoors getting ready for workout

This is one of the best cold-weather running hacks we know: warm up before you go outside! 

Use some basic moves before heading out to build internal body heat and lubricate your muscles and joints. Start by stretching your legs, arms, hamstrings, etc., and then do a few reps of squats, push-ups, sit-ups and lunges.

These bodyweight exercises will warm up your body so the frigid winter air isn’t as much of a shock when you head out your door. 

Related: 4 Common Running Mistakes To Avoid

5) Layer strategically.

If you need a new excuse to buy workout clothes, winter running is it. Dressing for a cold-weather run is all about layers.

Specifically, three important ones: an inside layer that should be moisture wicking and lay tight against your body; a middle layer that should be insulating; and an outer layer that should be made of a weather-guard material.

Make sure you choose some great cold-weather running tights, too!

6) Get better traction.

One of the biggest impediments to getting a good run in when it’s chilly outside is the fear of slipping on snow or ice.

When you can’t land your feet properly without slipping, it not only puts you in danger but hurts your form.

Avoid injury and get the most out of your winter runs by adding Yak Tracks or Nano spikes onto your shoes.

For even better stability in the snow, you can buy screw kits at running stores; the screws themselves go into your shoes to help improve traction in ultra-slippery conditions.

Word to the wise, though: certain shoes with air or gel can be damaged when you put the screws in, so be sure to ask a professional at the running store to help.

7) Put Vaseline on exposed skin.

Surviving a winter run is all about staying safe and warm—and avoiding frostbite in the process.

One of our favorite cold-weather running hacks involves that fabulous cure-all, Vaseline.

In extremely cold temperatures, rub it on your nose, ears and cheekbones. These areas are high spots on your face and can suffer frostbite more quickly; the Vaseline forms a natural barrier between you and the cold.

8) Run with the wind at your back.

Learn how to make the most out of your winter runs.

A substantial wind chill can turn a semi-cold day into a bone-chilling one. Try your best not to run into the wind, and if you have to, do it on the first half of your run.

That way, the home stretch of your workout—when you’re more tired and sweaty—won’t be coupled with intense winds. Is there anything grosser than cold sweat freezing on your skin?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

9) Wear reflective gear.

Less daylight in the winter means less visibility, especially in the morning or late afternoon/evening. To make matters worse, most running clothes are black, meaning you need to make yourself more visible.

Just because you see an oncoming car doesn’t mean they see you. Wear bright colors to be seen or add some reflective gear or reflective tape to your outfit.

Stay safe and warm this winter with these 9 cold-weather running hacks and you’ll become a better runner despite chilly temps.

This post is sponsored by Wahl Wellness. All opinions are my own. 

READ THIS NEXT: How To Safely Increase Your Running Mileage

Printed from GetHealthyU.com

1 Comment

on November 16, 2016 at 12:16 PM Reply

I think the first is o important, otherwise it's easy just to skip a cold weather run. Personally, once I figured out how to dress right, I really enjoyed running, even in single digit temps. Not because I am some type of sadist, but because I didn't feel cold. And being the only one out there running makes you feel like a little bit of a "bad ass" too!

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