With the weather getting colder around this time of the year, the last thing many people want to do is go running in winter -and I’m among that number. Over 44,000 accidents occured in winter in the UK. In the area with the most accidents, darkness was the primary cause, and that lack of visibility can discourage a lot of people from wanting to keep running in winter.
Visibility and cold conditions are just a couple of reasons that can stop one from running in winter. However, I’ve picked up some useful tips for running in winter, and I want to share them with you. If I attach any links to a product, I’m not being sponsored for this, I’m simply trying to promote safety.
1. Dress Warmer
Once the temperatures begin to dip, running in winter can be a very cold activity. Even though exercise can increase your body temperature, this may not make much of a difference if you’re running in winter. It’s around this time that you may want to consider wearing something warmer to exercise in.
Although a jumper or hoodie may not affect how many calories you burn when exercising, wearing one whilst running in winter can help keep your body warm whilst you’re out there. You may want to try a simple black hoodie, a running hoodie, or winter leggings, but whatever you pick, running in winter will probably require you to wear something warmer.
2. Stay visible.
As I mentioned in that earlier section, many more accidents can occur in winter. This can lead to an accident being more likely to happen when you’re running in winter., but you need not be scared – a;; you have to to do is dress smart, similar to my tip for dressing warmer.
Again, like dressing warmer, you can pick whatever suits you best. You may want a simple high-vis winter jacket, something more suited for exercise, or a normal high-vis that you can put over your warm clothes. I don’t mind or care what you pick in terms of high-visibility clothing, but I do care that you look after yourself – I’ve been in some very near misses in my time, and these were all situations where I didn’t have a high-vis jacket on.
3. Watch your grip/Check your shoes
A simple thing that could prevent you from slipping while running in winter, please check the condition of your shoes. One study recorded over 20,000 slips due to ice and snow that required a day away from work – and this was in workplaces alone. Now, imagine how many people slip on ice who haven’t been recorded or had to miss a day of work – even though not all falls require an absence, they can be pretty serious.
As someone who has slipped down on icy steps – funny story, I’ll write about it one of these days – I seriously advise checking that your shoes have enough grip. I know some people that wear ice cleats like these, but I’ve never used them, so can’t personally say whether they’re any good for running in winter. The people I know that use ice cleats seem to find them useful, though. If it comes to it, when running in winter, you may want to grab yourself a fresh pair of trainers.
4. Check your route
If you have several routes like me, then you may find that you may prioritise one over the others when running in winter. I do this because the terrains on some of my routes are much slippier and prone to ice, and I don’t want to fall on them when I’m running in the winter months.
I’d advise taking your routes when the weather starts getting cold and checking which ones get icy easily and where you might be able to change your route when you’re running in winter. Even if you’re in a situation where you can’t modify your route, it’s good to be aware of the spots that frequently have ice.
5. Bring a torch
This is a simple but essential step if you like to set off early and are running in winter. Grab a small torch and keep it with your running clothes if you feel that your visibility may be reduced and you aren’t running in a well-lit area. Remember that the darkness can be very hazardous if you’re running in winter, and keeping a torch on your person can help signal your presence to drivers.
6. Be aware that taking it slow may help
Many runners may want to keep increasing their speeds and smashing loads of time records, even when running in winter, and this is possible, but it can also be dangerous. When winter rolls around, I tend not to aim for any time records until the coldest weeks have passed. But regardless of personal goals, you’ll find that you may be running slower anyway.
Colder weather can force your body to work harder to keep your vital organs warm. Even though this won’t have a drastic effect on your body unless you’re not dressed warm enough, you may find that you are running a couple of minutes slower than usual.
So, even if you’re prepared for running in winter and still find you’re not slipping but are moving slower, it may just be because your body’s working harder.
These are just a few essential tips for running in Winter, although there are some other things that you can do to keep safe and not slip on ice. I hope you find them useful! What do you do when you go running in Winter? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,