Winter running brings with it many challenges. There is less daylight, temperatures are lower and roads get slippery. Each of these things can make a winter running schedule hard to stick with on its own, but when you put them together, it’s important to put some extra time into your pre-run safety routine. Here are five tips to help you stay safe on the roads and trails this winter!
Be seen. With daylight fading before most people get home from work, the evening run can become dangerous. Since moving every run to the treadmill isn’t an option most runners are willing to take, it’s important to make sure you can be seen by motorists, cyclists and other runners when training in the dusk, semi-dark and moonlight. Leave black and other dark colored clothing in the drawer while opting for light colors and reflective stripes. Safety vests are a great piece of winter running wear and it’s hard to go wrong with a headlamp.
Roads and trails can get slippery in a hurry during the winter. One way to ensure your run ends well is to stay close to your start point. Rather than running point to point, try making multiple trips around a predetermined loop. This will help you be familiar with the surfaces and potential danger spots you’ll pass and also keep you close to a warm place.
Even if you’ve chosen to run a few laps around the same loop, conditions can change quickly. It order to prevent a slip or spill, slow down. Shortening your stride and easing your pace give you more stability and time to react the changes in surfaces.
Dress appropriately. Remember that you’ll warm up as your run goes on and to dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer out there than it actually is. Everyone has personal body temperature preferences but a good rule of thumb is to add one layer for every ten degrees below freezing. Always wear a hat or ear warmer and mittens or gloves, when it’s really cold, consider a scarf, too. Protect bare skin with lotions and consider the shoes you wear. If there’s snow on the ground, you might want a trail or waterproof shoe.
Warm up and watch the wind. Warm up before you go outside with dynamic stretching or a few minutes of jump rope. The cold doesn’t seem as bad when your blood’s moving but not enough to make you break a sweat. Doing a warm up also gives you time to look outside and see which way the wind is blowing. You’ll want to start out heading into it. The cold air that comes with the wind can be even worse when you’re sweaty and having it at your back can help push you home.
Use these tips to help you stay safe during all of your winter running experiences.