Winter running can be very enjoyable: it’s a great way to keep warm, it helps keep your body in shape, and it gets you out of the house during cold weather. It’s important, however, to be aware of potential pitfalls.
- Check your shoes.
You need healthy feet for running at any time of year, but even more so in winter. That means wearing appropriate footwear. Slippery, icy conditions can easily lead to slips that can cause injuries like ankle sprains.
- When there’s snow on the ground, a pair of trail sneakers may offer a better, more secure grip than your usual running shoes. Ask your podiatrist for personalized advice.
- Avoid getting your feet wet – shoes with large areas of mesh are a bad idea, as this is the most likely way that water can get through to your feet.
- Stay safe around traffic.
Visibility is often severely reduced in the winter, whether it’s because of snow or rain, or because of the lack of daylight hours. You need to think about both being able to see others and about others being able to see you.
- Wear brightly colored clothing with reflective strips. Everything looks gray and washed out in snow, so people will have trouble seeing you if you’re wearing drab or dark clothes. A bright will also help.
- If you need to cross roads, do it away from any heaps of cleared snow. Slow down smoothly as you approach the road, so you can avoid skidding from a sudden stop and potentially injuring your foot or ankle.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks.
Boring as it may be, in slippery conditions it’s best to stick to routes you know well. If you’re running in the dark, choose paths with good lighting and as few obstacles as possible – this isn’t the time to run through dense woods or down sidewalks you aren’t familiar with.
- Keep a steady pace to reduce your chances of slipping. Sudden slowing or acceleration is much more likely to cause an accident than it would be in the warmer weather.
- If the weather gets really bad, accept that you’re not going to be able to run outdoors. Better to spend a day exercising indoors than a whole winter recovering from an injury.