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What You Need to Know About Running in Cold Weather

written by: Sheryl R. • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 8/31/2009

If you really want to run, even cold weather shouldn’t stop you. The information provided in this article will equip you with what you need to know about running in cold weather.

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    Running is and has been a popular activity. It’s so flexible because it can be done indoors or outdoors, as a game, activity or sport. Running is even becoming more prevalent among those who need or desire to improve their health. Running is one thing, but running in cold weather seems to be whole different beast. Though this may be the case, with proper knowledge, information and preparation, you can achieve your running goals and aspirations. This is not to discourage anyone, but to convey that where there is a will, there is a way. The most difficult part is getting started. You can a jump start by thinking of running as really fast jogging!

    Once you have decided to run, keep your mind set on running. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you from your goal to run, despite having to run in cold weather. Great rewards lie ahead as a result of your keeping you eyes, and your heart, on the prize.

    What is considered cold weather will vary from person to person. Let’s consider cold weather that which is cold, or even uncomfortably cold, to you, especially during the winter months. Rain, sleet, hail or snow, get ready to run!

    First of all, you want to be at a fitness level appropriate for running as agreed upon with you medical provider. You don’t have to be an athlete or anything of the sort, only able to safely run. You might even consider having a running buddy so you can encourage and hold each other accountable. The importance of accountability can't be stressed enough. A running buddy will also help to keep your mind off the cold weather. There is no need to run fast or worry about the pace. Run at your own pace. The key is to just run.

    Dress appropriately with warm, bright-colored clothes that don’t restrict your running movements. A common rule of thumb is to dress as though the weather is ten degrees warmer that it actually is. You may dress in easily removable layers and even wear leggings or other warm undergarments. Wear a hat, ear covers, gloves and a neck scarf if that will help you to achieve your comfort level. If you’re running in wet weather conditions, wear waterproof coverings, and if running in windy weather, wear windproof garments.

    Allow your body to warm up before you begin running in cold weather by doing light aerobic-type activity for 3 -5 minutes. Be sure to include light stretching.

    Be safe. Know the weather expectations. Take identification. Ensure you can see and be seen, especially in weather conditions that affect visibility such as heavy rain, hail, snow, and wind. Don’t run on the road. Remain on the sides of roads to avoid incidents with vehicles. Be careful when running on or near ice as it can be slippery. Keep hydrated by drinking water. Leave the caffeinated beverages behind as they can dehydrate you. Only wear headphones if they don’t interfere with your ability to hear and be aware of your surroundings.

    Running in cold weather really doesn’t have to be complex. The experience is what you make of it. Each time you run, try running a little further. This will give you an added measure of accomplishment and gratification. Considering all that you will gain from running, even cold weather won’t stop you.