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Cold Weather Running Tips to Protect Yourself from Injury

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Cold weather | Nucific

It’s spring and still… the freezing temperatures remain! But, you don’t have to wait until summer to exercise outside. If you love running, don’t let frigid temperatures or intense windy conditions hold you back. In fact, no matter how cold it is, be it in the winter or spring, you can still get your run in.

We’ve got your cold weather running survival guide right here, so you can hit the outdoor trails you love without fear of training aches and pains.

For those not interested in the gym, here are five tips for running in freezing temperatures safely and injury-free:

1. Protect Your Joints With Yoga

If you love to run, you are a runner. And runners know that the peace of finding your rhythm, and the solace of solitude as your feet hit the trail, is unparalleled. But you may shrink away from hitting your favorite outdoor running trail when temps dip for fear of injury. And yes, the cold temperatures can strain the delicate ligaments and other soft tissues of your joints and muscle tissue. Avoid any damage caused by cold temperature runs with a 10 minute yoga stretch. The slow stretching of Yoga works to prevent damage to your cold tendons and ligaments caused by unexpected movements as you run.

2. Live in Layers

It’s something snowboarders, skiers, and other winter sports enthusiasts have known for years: Layering is an absolute must. When things heat up under your jacket, you’ll need to toss off the top layer, and strip down to the base layers underneath. Runners, it’s always best to keep a few layers on, so you can peel them back when you run in the open winter air. Avoid discomfort while running outside during the winter by purchasing high-quality, breathable base layers with moisture-wicking technology. This way, you can sweat and still stay warm and dry – even if all you have on is your base layer.

3. Protect Your Skin

Cold weather can take just about every drop of natural moisture out of your skin. If you want to keep winter skin free of inflammation, rosacea, acne, and dryness, purchase a breathable cotton fleece face mask/neck protector that you can take along. This will help prevent moisture loss from the cold. Additionally, don’t forget to nourish skin from the inside out by drinking plenty of water. The recommendation for men is about 1 gallon per day, and for women, about ¾ of a gallon. For extra-dry skin types, you may also want to try the power of an omega-3 supplement to keep skin cells hydrated from deep within.

Cold weather | Nucific

4. Get Great Shoes

When it gets cold and wet outside, you’re going to need to step up your footwear game. Trade in anything with worn-out soles or weakening arches and go shopping! There are so many options for high-quality running shoes out there today, there is no excuse for wearing battered shoes. Do yourself a favor, and choose a pair that has brand new tread on the bottoms and a supportive arch. Also, consider having a professional shoe fitting, to ensure the perfect fit. Properly fitting shoes of any kind are a must, but it’s particularly important for runners. Take these steps now, to ensure that you are safe out there on your favorite running trail – no matter the weather conditions.

5. Consider Cross-Training

When you are running off the treadmill on an outdoor trail, you have to constantly adjust your body position to accommodate the ever-changing landscape. When winter weather enters the picture, you may notice that finding your footing is even harder – not to mention that your cadence slows to almost a snail’s pace. Don’t worry about it. The slow pace of your winter runs are to be expected, so simply consider it to be an additional challenge – a cross-training exercise that will boost your springtime performance!

Running outdoors in the winter can be intimidating. If you need a little extra motivation to lace up those running shoes, hopefully these five tips for winter runners will help you on your way. Happy trails!

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Amy Lee
Dr. Amy Lee
Board Certified Physician

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