Winter Running: How to Stay Safe With Darker Days & Colder Weather

The first fall run after a long, hot summer is pure magic. But when cool weather turns downright COLD… things get a little more complicated.

Wind, ice, and cold temperatures add unique challenges to the average run. And if you’re accustomed to hitting the pavement before or after work, the shorter days make it harder to squeeze in a workout during daylight hours. In short: winter running is no joke! But it can also be a super rewarding, surprisingly energizing way to keep logging those miles, all year long. 

All you need is a little preparation and some simple precautions — and maybe an extra pep talk to brave those bracing temperatures. You can do this! 

Here are our top tips for winter running safety:

Beware of glare: Pay attention to the time of day when you go for a run. When the sun is rising and setting in the winter months, the angle of the sun can have a blinding effect on drivers behind the wheel. If you head outside around dawn or dusk, take extreme care! Do NOT assume that drivers can see you, so play it safe with an ultra-cautious approach any time you cross the street or interact with traffic.

Dress for success: What works for you during summer runs likely won't work in the winter. Before you head out, take a moment to reassess your gear and winterproof your outdoor runs. 

→ Check the windchill. As you check the temperature forecast, don’t forget to factor in the windchill. A windy day can feel 10+ degrees colder than what the thermometer is reading.
→ Choose wool over cotton. Once cotton gets wet from sweat or precipitation, it loses its insulating powers. Skip the regular t-shirts and reach for a breathable wool or other performance fabric designed for moisture-wicking and body heat retention.
→ Cover your head and hands. Lots of body heat exits through your extremities, so be sure to start a winter run with a hat and gloves. This will help you strike the balance of warmth without overheating, and you can always take them off as your body temperature rises from running. 
→ Time to shine! If any of your run will take place in the dark, be sure that your gear includes flashing or reflective elements, on your front AND back, to improve your visibility to passing cars. 

Expect the unexpected: No one expects to get hurt during a routine run, but with slippery ice and snow added to the mix, it's the reality of outdoor exercise in the winter. Understand that extreme weather and risk of injury are real possibilities during the winter, and prepare accordingly. 

→ Carry an extra layer. If the wind picks up or you need to walk home slowly rather than running, you will appreciate a little extra protection from the elements.
→ Bring your phone. Even if you prefer a device-free run, your phone is an absolute necessity for winter running safety. As more people stay inside during the cold months, there may be fewer passersby in the event that you need assistance. Your phone will be your lifeline to call for help if you get hurt, or use a rideshare app in case you can’t make it home on foot. 
→ Stick to service areas. A phone won’t help you if you have no service! While it’s always nice to get off the beaten path, it’s a good idea to stay closer to civilization in case something unexpected happens. 

 

Stay hydrated! We all know the importance of hydrating during sweaty summer workouts. But somehow, thirst in the wintertime just hits different. While you might not crave water the same way you do in the summer, take an intentional approach to your running hydration and add electrolytes to enhance water absorption. Hydration is key to keeping your body (and immune system!) in balance all winter long, and any level of dehydration can impact your performance. 


Ready to run? Nuun Sport is optimized for exercise to help you stay hydrated, from summer to winter and everything in between >>>

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