Running in the snow is probably the best workout, not only is it fun, but breathtakingly gorgeous landscapes keep you running further than you expected, on softer grounds than what you usually train (your knees will thankyou for that).
This type of workout will engage muscles in a different way and make you work extra hard. It is an ideal type of workout for those seeking a new challenge. You get to work on your muscle strength as well as body movement mechanics.
When the temperatures outside are low, the body muscles naturally lose heat and as a result, contract or become stiff. They are more prone to soreness and injury now more than ever, so you need to consider how you will avoid these risks. Lucky this article is here, eh?
Now, as much as your first day running in the snow will be a bit difficult, you should know that it gets better with time. Your body responds differently during the cold season than during warmer seasons. Its best to remember that and not let your mentality get the better of you as you fatigue quicker than usual.
But like anything, as you stay consistent, your body will adapt and get better. For that, you will need a positive approach, discipline and dedication. Are you ready for this?
Do Proper Warm Up
Before you begin your run, it is crucial to prepare your body by doing a longer than usual and effective warmup to increase your body temperature, muscle elasticity and get the blood and oxygen pumping around the body. Along with reducing muscle soreness and the risk of getting an injury.
Dynamic stretches are proven to be more effective than usual static stretches, especially whilst trying to retain heat on the snowy days (you definitely don’t want to be standing still in the cold!) You may consider mixing dynamic stretches with a light jog to mimic the type of exercise you are about to do. You can do runners lunges, butt kicks, or whichever you find more effective for you as long as they get the job done.
The take-away here is, it’s not a good idea to go out running in the snow straight from the door, with tight muscles.
Investing in wool and synthetic exercising gear is a solid idea for the snowy days. They are good at keeping you warm and yet allowing the escape of extra heat. Synthetic material also has other advantages such as being an excellent shock absorber and providing excellent cushioning to the feet (can you say running in your slippers?)
Cotton is not recommended in lower temperatures because it absorbs the moisture and traps it in, making you uncomfortable.
You can start by getting a warm, lightweight wool beanie to keep your head and ears warm as you run. You may also need to get yourself a comfortable headband that is not too tight or too loose to fall off as you run to cover your ears from snowflakes and wind. To avoid a compression headache, avoid tight headbands and hats.
Proper layering for the upper body is recommended. You need to wear a base layer top to evaporate sweat and make you warm and comfortable as you run. After the base layer, it is recommended to put on an insulating layer to keep moisture from the skin. Over the top, add a water and wind-resistant layer that will protect you against snow and let out heat and humidity. Finsihed off with a breathable pair of gloves or mittens are essential to keep your hands warm, but allow the moisture to escape.
You also need to start with a base layer bottom like running tights and then add an extra layer that is snow proof. It is important to note that your lower body will generate more heat as you run compared to your upper body, so it is advisable not to overdress it.
Note :the cold weather will hit your body when you first step out, so you need to layer up efficiently. However, as you run, your body will get hotter, and you may need to shed off some of the layers to avoid overheating. Some will over-layer for the initial outside hit and to conduct the warmup in, discarding layers with stretches until satisfied to hit the road.
Wear Shoes with Proper Traction
Get yourself a pair of shoes that are water and windproof and offer proper thermal insulation to keep your feet dry and comfortable, that will also fit wool socks inside for the cold tootsies. Your shoes also need to have appropriate traction to avoid slipping and falling; trail sneakers are an awesome, low-cost option.
Remember to Hydrate
When out running in the snow, you can easily forget to hydrate as thirst indicators such as sweat are not easily noticeable. You, however, still lose a tremendous amount of body fluids, so you may need to keep drinking water. Carry a bottle of water and hydrate before, during, and after your run.
Make it Fun
Find ways to make you’re running more fun. You could try new running paths and not your usual course. Trail runs in the snow is so pretty and worth a venture if its safe to do so. A running partner is also a good motivation when you are not feeling up for it. Running with a friend is beneficial for your physical and mental health (and theirs too).
Do Not Overdo Your Exercise
As much as you are up for the challenge, do not overdo the running. Remember how running on snow makes your body work harder over the same mile compared to moderate temperature? This implies that you need to be careful to avoid muscle stress (particularly the gastrocnemius muscle). You should also avoid staying too long out in the cold because breathing in cold air may be harmful to your health (enter sore throat and cold headaches).
Face and Skin Care
Men this goes for you too! Apply Vaseline on your lips to avoid tight, dry, cracking lips. Also, moisturize your entire body, and don’t forget to use sunscreen as ice and snow are known to reflect ultraviolet rays. Hey, Why not even pull out the sunglasses if its really bright?
Safety Measure When Out Running
Before going for your run, make sure to inform someone of the path you will take; if something terrible happens to you, they would know how to locate you. And I suppose it goes without saying but never ever run on a frozen lake. Please stay safe.
I know motivation lacks but just get out there! Snow runs have been some of my most enjoyable runs. For the sheer effort it takes, but also silence, tranquillity and the most picturesque scenery stretches for miles. Me and friends would spend best part of the runs taking funny videos sliding around; it is definitely a good fun time to be out running.