Guide to winter running

Don't let the cold stop you. With this advice, you can keep your running shape and spirits up throughout the winter.

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Clothing for winter running

When the sun warms during the summer months, it doesn't take much more than a pair of running shorts and an airy t-shirt to add weekly miles to your legs. 

In winter, however, it's important to choose clothes that give you sufficient warmth and protection if you're going to run outdoors. Now you need to consider the weather to a greater extent. Remember that wind speed plays an important role of perceived temperature. -3°C degrees Tuesday is not the same as -3°C Thursday. The clothing will therefore affect the overall experience. And a pair of running tights (or trousers) and a windbreaker are not always sufficient protection against the elements. 

 

-3°C degrees Tuesday is not the same as -3°C Thursday

 

Layer upon layer is key to staying warm and dry in winter. It gives you the opportunity to adjust your clothing along the way. Technical garments have the good property of directing sweat and moisture away from the body, but at the same time it can help make you cold. 

Winter running is therefore about balance. Resist the temptation to dress too warmly, because your body temperature rises faster than you think – even when it's cold.

 

Head-to-toe insulation

Head: If you are going to run in winter, it is important to cover exposed body parts. Hands and fingers are often where you first start freezing. But it's actually the head that loses the most body heat. So don't keep a cool head. Be sure to wear a warm hat or cap. 

The feet: Don't forget your feet either. It really dampens the mood if you have to interrupt your workout because of frozen toes. Be sure to wear warm socks and sturdy sneakers with good grip or spikes, if you are going to run on ice and slippery surfaces.

You may also want to bring a warming hoodie to change into when you're done running.

Heating for running in cold temperatures

A proper warm-up is always important to prevent injuries. In winter, you should also take a few extra minutes to warm up your body and muscles, as the cold winter air can irritate your lungs. 

Make sure you put in at least 10 minutes for warm-ups before you start running. It will give you a better experience in the long run.

Even if it's cold, it's important to drink along the way. A good advice is to fill up lukewarm water, so that the body does not have to spend unnecessary energy heating the water when it gets into the stomach. With a lightweight drinking bag, with integrated drinking system, you also have room for an extra jersey.

 

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Be realistic in terms of length and quantity

Be flexible with pace and distance when running outside in the cold. This is not the time of year to set new records. In addition to irritating your lungs, the cold air will also cause the muscles around your airways to contract and constrict, and you won't be able to breathe as deeply as normal. It affects both pace and endurance. 

In winter, it is far more important to adjust your training to the conditions. By setting simple, achievable goals, motivation is kept up, even if the pace is down. 

 

Become an expert in analysing driving conditions and surfaces

Be careful. Everyone knows that ice and slippery conditions quickly lead to bumps and falls and dangerous situations. You may need to adjust your regular running lap now that it's cold. You can work towards new personal bests when the heat returns. 

Avoid the sessions early in the morning and late at night until you've learned more about how to best run in the dark and in the evening.

And understand the direction of the wind. If you run against the wind when you've sweated, it can make the wind feel even more bitterly cold. 

If, on the other hand, you plan your route against the wind direction at the beginning of the trip, and end your run with the wind at your back for the last few kilometres, you will get a far more pleasant running experience. 

Have a good trip!