Running in winter takes a little more preparation than simply lacing up your sneakers and heading outside.
“When you work out in the cold, you don’t feel like you’re sweating as much as you do in the warmer months,” said Katie Barrett, an instructor at the fitness studios B/SPOKE and MyStryde and a six-time marathon runner.
“You want to be a little cold as you are starting out because you’ll get warm quickly. And don’t forget the gloves! ” he said.
It’s important to build a wardrobe of layering basics for your run to keep you comfortable and warm, according to Christine Nienstedt, co-founder of Nuu Muu, a clothing company that makes organic tees and running dresses.
Nienstedt recommends wearing a running skirt over a bottom base layer and mixing multiple tops.
One of the biggest dangers of running in winter, as I found out, is falling over.
“The key is to be mindful of foot placement. Most of the time, when a fall occurs, it will be when a winter runner is running fast and not paying attention and/or turning,” said Kyle Kranz, an online running coach based in South Dakota.
Monica Lam-Feist, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and fitness expert for the supplement company AlgaeCal, said winter runners should invest in reflective gear.
Even if you are an experienced runner, working out in the cold can bring new challenges, so start slowly and build up your endurance. Winter runners should increase their miles cautiously, according to Rui Li, a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer with a specialization in injury prevention and gait analysis who is owner and CEO of New York Personal Training.
“Don’t push the distance if you aren’t used to running in the cold. Start off with just one mile, and don’t go too hard,” Li said.
For runners who enjoy races, the winter can be a surprisingly great time to participate in one.
“The winter months are a great time to get out and race,” said Joan Scrivanich, an exercise physiologist and running and triathlon coach at Rise Endurance.