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Running in winter: what to watch out for?

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The right shoes, warm-up, stretching and … Here’s what you need to know to run in the cold

By now the concept is cleared of customs: running in winter is possible, indeed, it is also fun.

But what are the aspects to pay attention to?

The cold is in many ways a friend of the runner. For example, if we think about preparing a marathon in summer or winter, the first option will easily seem like an ordeal, while for the cold we can cover ourselves.

However, we must pay attention to some strategies to ensure that the winter cold does not become our worst enemy.

So here are the most important points not to be underestimated for running in winter –

Warm up

First, in order of activities and I would even dare to say of importance: heating. Or Warm Up. If in the warm and mild seasons a crucial point of training remains, in winter a good warm-up becomes essential. The intense cold stiffens the muscles and has negative effects on the muscle fibers making them less elastic. Starting a run job in the winter without adequate warm-up equates to an increased risk of muscle injuries. If adequate heating usually takes at least 15 ‘, in winter it can reach 30’. You can start with some mobility exercises and then proceed with a very slow run that allows you to warm up the muscles without forcing them.


Related to heating, one of the most debated topics: pre-exercise stretching yes or no? In winter, above all, I would dare to be mandatory: better not. The cold and rigid muscle would poorly tolerate a stretching of the fibers with obvious risks of muscle injury. If you feel the need to stretch, stretch after the warm-up and prefer dynamic stretching exercises.

Rain and snow

In these two cases pay attention to the outside temperature. In case of rain, consider that if you get wet the perceived temperature will be lower. In case of snow you will not get soaked, but the flakes, falling on you, will wet and cool the muscles. In these two cases, slow down your workouts. Or proceed with a very very thorough heating. Rain and snow, wetting your clothing, cool the muscles and expose you to greater risk of injury. As for clothing, be careful about dressing too much: If you dress a lot, but your clothes get wet, it will be even worse. Better a light and waterproof jacket than a heavy shirt. Focus on the legs: a good solution could be to wear knee-length shorts and long socks, strictly in technical fabrics.


Few people know that with extreme cold the rubber of the soles of the shoes and the foams of the midsoles stiffen. It is therefore easy that in case of snow or very cold temperatures the shoes that until yesterday seemed very comfortable to you seem hard and uncomfortable. Unfortunately there is no solution, but the advice is to wear them already at home a few tens of minutes before going out so that they absorb some body heat. As for the rain there are models with GoreTex membrane that protect the foot.

Supplements and drinks

No cold water or cold drinks. This is live advice from grandma’s house, but it is useful: the best drink before leaving the house is hot tea. Sweetened with honey, maybe. Also pay attention to gels and bars: with the cold the stomach could suffer more. Keep this in mind and try to adapt the integration with isotonic gels, easier to digest.


Apart from the windproof jacket, for running in winter the thermal shirt. The thermal must be of quality because it will be your wild card. It will keep your skin dry and consequently prevent sweat from cooling on you. The other two points to protect are the head and hands, from which you disperse heat without realizing it too much. Headband or hat and gloves will save you from painful headaches and chilblains.

Happy winter races everyone!

read the tips on how to dress in winter

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