Running in the Winter: How to Avoid Injuring Yourself
Most multisport facilities and air domes include a running track—the perfect solution for runners that are scared of injuries from falling on slippery snow and ice. Here are a few more tips on staying safe as a runner this winter!
A regular fitness regimen is one of the keys to staying healthy, and running has found favor with a large number of North Americans. Maintaining a regular running schedule during the warm months is easy, but what happens when it gets cold and both the roads and sidewalks are slick with ice and snow? While an occasional muscle cramp is manageable, sprains and broken bones are burdens no one wants.
Runners like to wear the sort of clothing that does not restrict their movements, but this approach can be problematic in wintertime. You need to stay warm in order to preserve your health, which means shorts are definitely out. It is okay to feel a bit cooler at first, but you need to choose your amount of clothing based on the idea of staying warm while sweating. Experiment with what works and do not be afraid to double layer both top and bottom articles of clothing. Be sure not to forget a hat and gloves.
Unless you are planning on running in boots (bad idea), your running shoes are going to get wet because of the snow and slush. That means water might seep through the shoes and make your feet wet as well as cold. Choose socks that will deflect the water and keep your feet warm.
Choose Bright Colours
Runners already know the importance of choosing colors that allow others to still see them when the sun is low in the sky. This also applies to winter. Just because snow is white and it is daytime does not mean you will stay visible, particularly during periods of blowing snow. Plan the colour of your clothing accordingly.
The wind can be particularly bitter this time of year, and having to run into an icy breeze is not exactly something that will motivate you. Whenever possible, start your run with the wind blowing in this direction, but finish with it at your back. That way, if you are sweaty, the effects of the cold will feel less punishing. You are out there trying to improve your health, not end up in bed with the flu.
And now the most effective solution to avoid hurting yourself while running in winter…
All of the precautions mentioned above can help prevent injury and illness, but do not address the main problems: running in the winter just plain sucks. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s slippery, and it can be hard to breath. It is tough to stay interested when having to deal with so many negatives.
Fortunately, you have a tempting alternative. Many air-supported sports domes include a running track. This allows you to do laps in environmentally controlled comfort that mirrors spring and summer. No extra clothing and discomfort, no cancelled runs because the thermometer just dipped another 15 degrees. If it is safe for you to walk or drive to the dome, then it is safe for you to do your workout.
Running is just one of the sports you can enjoy all-year-round in an air-supported dome. Contact your local sports facility to find out what programs are available and how to sign up. Start working off those extra Christmas pounds in January, not April!