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Top Tips for Running in the Cold

As seasons change and the clock falls back, outdoor runners face several obstacles they don’t run into during warmer, longer summer and early fall days. Runners have to deal with dropping temperatures and shorter days, as the sun rises later and sets earlier. Sometimes, due to inclement weather, runners also have to deal with hazardous conditions such as slippery or icy roads, sidewalks, and trails. But cold weather and the associated hurdles don’t mean you need to stop running outdoors altogether. Follow these cold-weather running tips to keep pounding the pavement – or your local trail – year-round. Cold-weather running tips:
  1. Wear layers. It’s important to stay warm while running, but you want to be sure you can take off that extra top layer if you get too hot during a long run. Wearing thin layers will help to trap warm air, which keeps you warmer than simply wear one big, heavy jacket. When choosing your layers, avoid cotton, at least on the bottom layer. Instead, opt for a sweat-wicking fabric. Don’t forget that the layering rule applies to your socks, too – you want to keep those toes warm and dry!
  2.  Stay dry with a waterproof jacket. Fall and winter are notorious for precipitation in most parts of the country, and the weather can change at the drop of a dime. Wearing a waterproof outer layer will ensure you stay dry (or at least dryer).
  3. Cover your ears and hands. A headband, earmuffs or hat is essential for keeping your ears – which will get cold very quickly – insulated. We lose heat through any surface of our body that isn’t covered, so don’t forget gloves, too.
  4. Make sure your outer layer has reflective properties or buy a reflective vest to wear on top of all your layers. As the days get shorter, there’s less sunlight and more possibility that drivers won’t see a runner. By wearing a reflective vest or reflective clothing, as well as opting for light or fluorescent colors, you’ll be more easily spotted by oncoming traffic, greatly increasing your safety.
  5. Wear shoes with less mesh. In addition to two layers of socks (find ones that wick away sweat), try to find a pair of shoes with the less mesh. The more mesh, the more likely water in standing puddles, rain and snow will get into your shoes, causing your feet to become wet and cold.
  6. Hydration still matters, so be sure to bring along a water bottle or wear a hydration belt, especially on longer runs.
  7. Be mindful of ice and slippery patches on the road. In winter, it’s safer to opt for maintenance miles rather than speed running. A steady pace will allow you to pay more attention to your surroundings. Also be careful when running around corners, as this is when many people tend to fall on ice and slippery surfaces.
Keep extras in your car. If you take a car to a park or trails to go running, be sure to keep an extra pair of shoes, extra layers, and even a towel or two to help you dry off in case you get caught in a rain or snow storm.
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