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Cold Weather Running Tips

Keeping in good running shape in winter is very rewarding, while sometimes challenging.  I live in the Colorado
Rockies in winter and run throughout, usually in 10-to-30 degree temperatures, along with my other winter activities
like skiing and up-hilling.  Here are some tips to make winter running easy, safe, and enjoyable:

Run outdoors as much as possible.  Moving your running indoors to a gym is much better than nothing but do
not be afraid of the outdoors.  Pleasant surprises may await there.  Regardless of conditions I find I always run
further in the outdoors and feel better afterwards than on the treadmill.

Be prepared for underfoot ice risks.  Seek well-maintained paved trails or snowy trails.  Try out your local trails
cautiously at first and you will quickly gain confidence in recognizing possible dangerous spots. You might be
surprised how fast you can run once you understand the surface conditions.  I usually run in just my regular running
shoes but on more challenging winter trails attach Yaktrax or similar lightweight coil-system traction enhancers to
your shoes.

Dress sensibly.  I find that regular technical running gear, like I use in summer, is best close to the skin.  An extra
layer or two of the same might be warranted.  Then add a light running jacket which you can unzip or shed.  I do not
like running in cold weather under-gear which is great for skiing and other less intensive winter sports.

Always start out wearing light gloves and a head covering.  Your extremities need protection more so than
your torso which will heat up quickly.  You may pocket the extremity protectors when you warm up but will likely
appreciate having them when you finish.

In very low temperatures use toe-warmers.  Put the toe-warmer on top of the front of your foot where it will
work fine and not affect your gait.  Hand-warmers might also be good idea and can always be discarded if not
needed.

Have warm clothing at the finish.  Carry a light jacket and/or stash a bag in advance where you plan to stop
running.

Carry an energy gel or snack.  Even on a short outing this may prove valuable if conditions are worse than you
thought and you find you need an energy boost at a time of weakness.

Enjoy your winter running!

(C) Copyright, Warwick Ford, 2013
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