For many runners, the motivation to hit the pavement falls along with the temperature.
But with a little planning, there's no reason for the cold to stifle your running habit.
We checked in with Florida Hospital Physical Therapist Samantha Corkwell for tips on running in cold weather. She's suggested four minor adjustments that will help you stay moving during the most frigid months of the year.
- Layer up, then layer down
Yes, the chill hits hard, but you'll quickly find yourself warming up as you get into your run.
"Dress for 20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature because your body will warm up pretty quickly," Corkwell says.
Being prepared for these changing temperatures means dressing in layers, especially ones that are easy to peel off and stuff in a pocket. Sweat-wicking clothes are a good bet to keep your body dry.
- Beef up your warm up
The biggest health risk for cold-weather runners, especially those with prior injuries, is pulling muscles that haven't been properly warmed up, Corkwell says.
The ideal length of a warmup varies based on the runner and their pace, but in general Corkwell recommends a warmup of between 10 and 15 minutes in cold weather.
"In the beginning of a run, if you slowly ease into your pace it can act as a warmup," she says. But if you're running for speed, plan on the longer warmup to get your body ready.
- Map your run with care
Choosing a safe route is important in the best of conditions, but in the winter there are a few more factors to consider. If you live in an area where it snows, or you're taking a trip to a snowy destination and you want to keep up your running, make sure you take your safety into account.
"I would stay on the sidewalks of cities I knew did a good job of plowing and salting," Corkwell says.
And avoid the streets in snowy weather. Even if you can stop on a dime, cars can't.
- Buddy up
Yes, this advice may not be new, but it's even more critical in the winter. The willpower needed to run in the cold will be easier to maintain with a partner.
"When I was training for any runs in the winter, I would usually run with a friend because it's a lot easier to get out there and face those temps if you have a running buddy and someone to hold you accountable," Corkwell says.
For those runners who want to keep going in the winter, Florida Hospital physical therapists and the rest of the sports medicine team can help you create an individualized exercise plan.
To schedule an appointment with Florida Hospital Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, call (407) 303-8080 or schedule online.