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5 Winter Running Myths

Winter running pathIf you are an avid runner, but live in a climate where snow and ice and cold are a part of life during the winter, then you may be concerned about continuing to run during the winter. Here are a few myths dispelled to help you stay safe while continuing to run in the winter time.

Myth #1: Wear cotton to keep warm

In fact, cotton holds moisture in, and will make you cold and damp, so from your shirt to your socks, you are much better to be wearing synthetic fabrics during your winter runs. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry. Synthetic fibers are also good insulators, as they are hollow.

Myth #2: Put on extra, thick socks

Actually, if you start adding thick socks to your running shoes, they may now be uncomfortably tight, and reduce circulation to your feet, actually making your feet colder. Look for technical socks that are designed to keep your feet warm in winter, rather than layering more than one pair of socks. If your feet start to feel numb while running, stop immediately and get inside to prevent injury.

Myth #3: I can run like usual in the winter

Winter running can be fabulous, but it’s not the same as running in the summer. Besides the obvious ice and snow hazards, there are the cold temperatures. Here are a few basic tips to keep you safe and running all winter:

  • Shorten your stride, especially on potentially icy surfaces. You can’t always see ice on sidewalks or under snow. By shortening your stride, you gain stability and increase your chances of staying on your feet.  If you run with your usual stride, especially if you are a heel-striker, you have a much higher risk of experiencing a nasty fall when you hit that inevitable patch of ice.
  • Do your stretching indoors before you leave. This will warm up your body before you head out, giving you less chance of injuries.
  • If the temperature is below -20 with the wind chill, you should really run inside on a treadmill, or an indoor track rather than risk hypothermia! When it’s really cold outside, your body forgets about your extremities and just focuses on keeping your core warm, leaving your hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite.

Myth #4: I should dress warmly to run in winter

You should dress so that you feel a little bit chilly when you start running outside. You will warm up in no time.  If you start your run being comfortably warm, you will definitely be too warm by the time you are finished!

Myth #5: Running in the winter isn’t worth it…I should just wait until Spring

Running at any time of year makes you feel better. How many times have you gone for a run and felt worse afterwards? Never? Exactly!  Especially in the winter when “winter blues” are common, getting outside for a run is one of the best things that you can do for yourself, as long as it’s not too cold or too icy out! Keep running!

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