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Running in Cold Weather

As the weather starts to become cold outside, you generally have two choices in regards to your running routine. You can either run at the gym on the treadmill or you can brave the weather and continue to run outdoors. Most serious runners love the challenge and variety that goes along with running in the great outdoors and will gladly trade the warm security of the gym for the open road. Cold weather running does present its hurdles and challenges and running in cold weather can increase your risk of injury. This is why it's important that you take extra precautions before heading out the door. Here's how to run in cold weather:

Choose appropriate running clothing

It goes without saying that when the temperature dips you're going to need heavier running attire. On the other hand, many runners say they feel encumbered by thick clothing. The best solution to this problem is to layer your cold weather running clothing so you can shed a layer if you become too warm during your cold weather running. You may want to visit your local running store and explore some of the different options available in running clothing to determine which might best fit your needs.

One form of running clothing that's often overlooked is insulated underwear. This can help you hold in heat without being weighed down with heavy clothing. Two other important pieces of clothing to consider when the temperatures dip below the 30's is a hat and a heavy pair of gloves. Gloves are particularly important when temperatures are below freezing to avoid frostbite.

Modify your workout during very cold weather

Consider performing a portion of your workout at the gym when temperatures drop below freezing. This way you can spend less time cold weather running and still maintain your cardiovascular fitness. Don't attempt to increase your speed and endurance when you run in cold weather. Just go for maintenance. This isn't the time to challenge yourself to reach new levels.

Protect your exposed skin

Before you go out into the cold air and wind, be sure to apply extra moisturizer to your face as well as sun protection. Winter running can take a toll on the health of your skin.

Know when to work out indoors

When roads and sidewalks are icy or the wind chill is low, it's best to run indoors to avoid potential injury or a dangerous drop in body temperature. To better deal with wind chill, try to run only with the wind.

Increase your visibility

If you'll be running in the snow, wear bright clothing to increase your visibility. Cars may have difficulty seeing you during snowy conditions.

Stay well hydrated

Believe it or not, you may actually need more liquid for rehydration when you're cold weather running. When temperatures drop, so does the humidity, which means more water and electrolyte loss during exercise. Stay well hydrated with a sports drink or other appropriate liquid.

Now that you know how to run in cold weather, you won't be confined to the stuffy gym when cold weather strikes. Be sure to be cautious and alert if you plan to run in cold weather as it does present more challenges even for the seasoned runner.

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