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5 Easy Tips for Winter Running

Monday, December 17, 2018 7:44 AM

Winter running can become a burden to many with cold winds, wet conditions and short days (lack of sunshine). Keeping warm and dry are essential tips for any runner, but a few less known ones will help keep training goals in place through the cold and dark winter months. Dr. Evan Plowgian, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore, gives his best tips for winter running.

  • Dress to prevent overheating. Dressing for winter running can seem arduous because of the many layers needed to stay warm. Overdressing is a common mistake amongst many runners; it is a rule of thumb to dress for weather that is 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the temperature at the time of running. Doing this will allow for the body to better regulate excessive sweat and overheating.
  • Layer clothing correctly. Picking the outfit for a winter run is just as important as knowing how to dress. The first layer closest to the skin should be a microfiber or polyester shirt that wicks sweat away from the body and onto the shirt itself. Depending on the temperature the second layer could be a windproof running jacket, or a polyester sweatshirt. Finally, wearing running tights will allow for comfortable legs. For weather that is under 45˚ degrees it is important to avoid cotton if possible. That’s because cotton will get wet and stay wet, causing discomfort for the majority of the run.
  • Stay visible. When the sun starts rising later and setting earlier many runners find it difficult to adjust to running in the dark. To stay safe in the winter it is imperative to stay visible to cars and other pedestrians while running. Wearing brightly colored hats, sweatshirts or a reflective vest will keep you running safely on busy streets and sidewalks.
  • Run with a group. Running goals can lose a lot of steam when the winter months arrive, but joining a local running group or finding a friend can help keep goals in sight. Having people to run with will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Know when to run indoors. Finally, if the weather is below 15˚ degrees it may be smarter to run on an indoor track or use a treadmill to avoid the cold.