Running in the Winter

March 16, 2021

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Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Staying Safe and Warm  

Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to get cabin fever? I find myself reminiscing the days of going for daily afternoon walks and runs when the weather was more mild. Now it's cold and gets dark early, and even though I could go out for a run or a walk still, I can never seem to get it quite right. I either end up dripping in sweat under all the layers, or calling it quits after 2 minutes because it's just too cold. Yet I see people almost daily going for runs and walks. Every time I see them I wonder how they can do it, and if it's really possible to bundle up comfortably and still enjoy the fresh air.  

To answer my question, I did what I always do, and I turned to old reliable; the internet.  

On my quest, I found a few interesting articles that offered some tips and tricks to stay warm; what kind of gear is best; and when to call it quits.  

Although different articles had different tips and tricks, they all had the same few offerings in common. Those are the following:  

  1. Dress in layers! No this doesn’t mean your warmest long sleeves, sweats, and winter coat. This means thin layers. Once you start moving, your body is going to heat up faster than you think since it is harder for your body heat to escape through the layers. If you feel like you are starting to warm up past your comfort, take off the top layer. You can tie it around your waist or even plan to run on a short loop so you can drop it off in a safe space (think your car or front steps). If you start to cool down, add that layer back on to prevent your muscles from getting cold and injured.  

  1. Wear waterproof/water resistant shoes! Even though the roads appear to be dry, remember there is going to be a lot more slush and puddles than there usually is during the warmer parts of the year. No one likes cold and soggy toes.  

  1. Check the thermometer! Check the thermometer and the weather report before you go. Growing up in New England they always tell you that if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. With the harsher temperatures in the winter, you are already going to be vulnerable so even something like clouds rolling in or a change in wind direction can leave you feeling fatigued, cold, and possibly injured. It’s also important to look at the thermometer to determine you’re at risk of running into black ice!  

Although there was a lot of other information out there, I think that these are the most important tips and takeaways. Winter can be cold and dark, but it doesn’t have to be boring. So get out there and enjoy it! Let us know what some of your winter running/walking tips are at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!  

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