The weather around the Midwest has been frigid and nasty lately, but that’s no reason to slow your training. If you’re interested in cold weather running, there are a few things you should know.
Weather Conditions to Avoid:
Hydration: Don't under estimate the amount of water your body may lose while working out in the cold. Cold weather can cause you to not have the need to maintain hydration; however, it's important to still bring water on long runs. Just because you may not feel like you’re sweating as much as you would in warmer weather doesn’t mean you’re not losing water in other ways. Hydrate just as you would if it were hot outside.
Diet: Be sure to maintain a complete and well-balanced diet while training in the winter months. Your body is using food not only for energy during exercise but also to maintain a healthy core temperature. If your body is not able to maintain a healthy core temperature, you are at higher risk for hypothermia, frostbite, or frost nip.
Your body is at greater risk of injury during this time of year due to the temperatures being lower and your body not being at optimal condition when beginning your workout. This can be avoided if time is taken to stretch and perform a total body warm-up with body squats, tuck jumps, lunges, high knees and butt kicks.
Warm-Up: Be sure to leave adequate time for a longer stretch and warm-up session before beginning your workout. Since the climate is colder, your body needs more time to warm itself and your muscles. Think of your body like a car. Just like your car needs a bit more time to warm up during winter, so does your body.
Cool-Down: Although it is cold out during this time of year, it is still crucial to cool your body and muscles down by taking a five- or ten-minute walk after your workout. Be sure to include a stretching routine during this time just as you do during your warm-up.
Alternatives to Running if Weather is Not Cooperating: If you're unable to train outside and you don't have access to a treadmill or an indoor track, spend time stretching, breathing and foam rolling. Body squats, lunges, planks, and push-ups are basic exercises for flexibility and strength.
Training indoors on a treadmill or running surface is always a safer choice during winter. Now that we're into March, let's hope it warms up.
For more information on performance training, or for help with an injury, contact Mercy Sports Medicine at 314-325-3068.
Benjamin Hicks is a Certified Athletic Trainer with Mercy Sports Medicine.