How to run in winter: answers to the most important questions

If you’ve been actively exercising outdoors for a long time, you probably don’t want to stop just because it’s winter. There are few options here. You can move indoors, go to a warmer place. Or you can continue to run outside, but with some nuances. Let us tell you how to properly practice running in the winter.

Running, like other cardio activities, is very good for the body. It improves endurance, strengthens the heart and blood vessels, and prevents aging. As you know, for the effect of sport to be evident, you need to exercise regularly. If every time you cancel trainings because of bad weather, they will not give any result. But everything is not so simple with jogging.

Winter in our latitudes can be quite severe. And every runner thinks: is it worth exposing the body to loads in such weather? The problem is not only discomfort due to the cold. But also the fact that the tracks become too wet and slippery.

Professional athletes are sure: you can run in the winter. You just need to do it in appropriate sportswear, be sure to warm up. Do not overexert your body and listen to it, interrupting the run if you have discomfort. And to finally dispel your doubts, we have collected the most popular questions about winter running training. And asked experienced athletes to answer them.

  1. Is it dangerous to run in winter?

In fact, this sport carries a certain risk at any time of the year. Especially for beginners. It is a strong vertical and impact load on the spine. Tension on the back, lower back. Feet and knee joints suffer. To minimize the damage, it is better to run only on soft ground or grass, but not on asphalt. When athletes change surfaces – for example, starting to run on synthetic turf at the gym instead of the parkway – they may experience knee pain. Winter is a change of surface, too. Good shoes with cushioning and non-slippery soles will help.

  1. How do sub-zero temperatures affect the effectiveness of running?

In general, it is possible to go out for a run even in freezing temperatures. You should be guided by your endurance. But you should understand that minus 20 and below is not the best temperature for such activity. Since the lungs are heavily supplied with oxygen, they can suffer from too cold air. And if you run not very fast, it will be simply cold. You can get overcooled and get sick.

Therefore, in sub-zero temperatures you should only breathe through your nose. It warms the air before it enters your lungs. And exhale the warm air with your mouth. In order not to get off this kind of breathing, you need to choose a suitable pace. The athlete should monitor the heart rate. If it speeds up too much, there is a risk of overcooling the nasopharynx when inhaling icy air. Covering your face with a scarf or balaclava is not advisable. It is very important that nothing impedes free breathing. If the skin really suffers from frost, you can wear a warm accessory. But then there should be at least a centimeter of free space between the cloth and the mouth.

  1. How to warm up in the cold?

The purpose of the warm-up is to gradually speed up the heart rate before exercise, to warm up the ligaments and muscles. It may not be effective in the cold. Therefore, it is better to perform the warm-up in a warm room. It is necessary to stretch the shoulders and legs. Particular attention should be paid to the knee joints and feet. Each movement requires at least 9 seconds. It also does not hurt to stretch a little.

  1. How long should a run last?

This is influenced by the fitness of the athlete, the weather outside and the purpose of the workout. If it includes anaerobic exercise, you can spend more time running. On an acceleration run, though, you need to focus on your heart rate. In the winter, it gets harder to keep track of your heart rate. To know exactly whether your heart rate is above the norm, you should always use a heart rate monitor.

  1. Who is better to give up running?

Contraindications to jogging are any problems with the respiratory system and acute illnesses. With sciatica and joint disease, it’s better not to run in the cold. Joints in general should not be overcooled. Therefore, even healthy runners it is important to choose the right clothes. So as not to sweat too much and not to freeze because of this.

  1. How to dress for a run?

The right outfit is one of the most important conditions for an effective and safe workout.

You’ll need:

Sneakers – in order not to slip on icy surfaces, you need maximum cushioning of the sole, frost-resistant materials, deep tread against slipping

Thermal underwear – a body suit with a minimum of wool will help to wick away excess moisture and keep you warm;

socks – the ideal is a pair that adjusts to your body temperature and does not let moisture in;

tracksuit – can be both tight and loose, the main thing is to be comfortable; for severe cold minus 15 and below it is worth taking models with a fleece lining, which keeps warm, and membranes, which do not let water in;

Jacket – models with tinsulite have excellent wear resistance, warmth, lightness;

Gloves – a necessary element, because the hands begin to freeze first; to protect against frost and wind suitable wool or fleece gloves;

Scarf – it is important to keep your neck warm, for this it is worth wearing a scarf, shawl or balaclava;

A hat – must cover the ears; to let the air in, but not heat, it is better to choose a model made of synthetics.

  1. How do you know when to stop?

The body will tell you when a run can be harmful. Normally, the feeling of cold lasts no longer than 10 minutes from the start of a cross-country run. Then the athlete warms up. When you’ve been running for a long time, but you’re still freezing and feeling cold sweat, it means you’re not dressed for the weather. If you can’t pick up the pace, stop running.

Avoid exercising outdoors in all kinds of weather. To stay warm, it is enough to choose a good outfit made of modern materials. In addition, such loads are a great hardening of both body and character. Your sports results will definitely increase.