Running in cold weather isn’t for the weak but it’s also not as impossible as it seems.
The cold weather months are quickly approaching for most of the country. This means most outdoor activities are done for the year or taken indoors.
Running outside when the temperature dips isn’t for everyone but it’s not as difficult as it seems. With a little preparation, stretching and training, runners of all skill levels can take to the roads in the cold of winter.
Natalie Johnston has been running since she was 13 years old and has been a competitive athlete since the age of 3. She’s a RRCA and USATF certified running coach and NASM certified personal trainer. We asked Natalie for some tips and tricks for running in cold weather
How do you warm up/stretch for cold weather runs?
“The more warm up, the better, even before easy runs,” Natalie explains. “And not just cold weather.”
She suggests warming up for running in cold weather with a foam roller, doing mobility exercises. Slow motion marching is also an effective way to get the body warmed up for the pending run.
A quick “fitness walk” before run is also advised. “Alternate between walking and easy running until your body feels ready to go into a full run.
How should a runner dress for cold weather Over layer? Thin layer?
“I prefer non-bulky clothes. You don’t want to feel like a snowman. It’s better to have more layers then less. The number of layers depends on the temperature. If you get cold easily, your muscles do too, so layer according to your natural level of clothing in any cold condition. On the bottom, a good pair of cold weather tights is suggested. And absolutely a pair of gloves!”
Do I focus on keeping feet warm or head warm or both?
“It’s always a good idea to keep them both warm, ward against frozen toes, and since we know our head keeps in our heat, super smart to wear a hat or ear warmers.”
Any breathing tips?
“Breathing in and out through your mouth is the rule of thumb with running. Also, breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest. You can practice deep belly breathing laying on your back with your hand on your stomach and as you breathe in your stomach blows up and, as you breathe out, your tummy comes in. I sometimes do some yoga type breathing during my runs too, I feel it helps when I’m getting stressed.”
And the cool down. Is it better to stay outside and stretch or go indoors?
“You can do a 5 minute fitness walk after the run, but then most definitely get out of your clothes into some dry gear. Grab the foam rollers to stretch out the body a little again. I’m all about Epsom salt baths year round but getting into a warm bath feels magical after a cold run.”
Check out more tips from Natalie on her official website.