Jogging in the winter: Here's how!
Running in winter? Why? Just because! Anybody can run when temperatures are pleasant. A run in cold weather however can become a real energy booster. If you pay heed to the following points:
Challenge no. 1: It's cold. Very cold.
In Hamburg, home to the LANS Medicum, there is a saying: "There’s no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothing" – so put on that functional wear! Ideally in layers: first thermal base wear; then running tights which do not store any moisture and thus prevents the body from cooling down. And top it off with a good running jacket. The latter ideally equipped with ventilation slits to allow body heat to escape.
Those among us who have children know: the head cools down very quickly. Therefore put on a hat! It is best to use a functional cap or a so-called "buff" - a multifunctional cloth that can be pulled over the nose, making the inhalation of cold air more pleasant. Also, don’t forget to put on gloves and a scarf. Protect your face by applying a fatty cream against cold and dehydration.
As far as the training is concerned: in winter the term "cold start" takes on a completely new meaning: Warm yourself up! Essentially, this means that some stretching exercises should be done indoors before you start. Once outside, start by running slowly until you are at operating temperature. Choose a constant but moderate speed in winter. If the temperature is less than -10°C, overexertion should generally be avoided. The cold inhaled air cannot be sufficiently cleaned, moistened and heated in these conditions before it hits our bronchi, which can lead to a cold. In general, the best technique is to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. This takes the stress off the lungs. The aforementioned buff comes in handy here.
After the end of your run, you should quickly find your way back inside and prevent staying in sweaty clothes in the cold for an extended time.
Challenge no. 2: It may be slippery.
Contrary to what many might think, freshly fallen and hard packed snow can make a good running surface. It gives a good grip, cushions and makes your run an unforgettable experience. A good tread on your running shoes is essential to prevent slipping. Also, the shoes should be water repellent and breathable.
If the ground is too icy, you should consider other track alternatives e.g. a tartan track. The lanes are usually well illuminated, precisely measured and you can concentrate on speed, technique and time - perfect conditions for the targeted training. From time to time athletic and/or fascia training exercises make sense for everyone doing cardio and may well replace one or the other intensive running units. In fascial training, the fibrous connective tissue, which envelops our muscles, tendons and ligaments, is activated by means of targeted stretching exercises. Hardenings are loosened and adhesions are become unstuck.
Challenge no. 3: It's dark and foggy and rainy and cloudy...
None are reasons to stay at home on the couch, instead of doing exercise. However you should avoid unknown routes through darkness, fog, rain or snowfall. Make sure that your wear bright sportswear, equipped with reflectors. Alternatively, simply use the reflective vest out of your car or use reflective tape and flashing LED lights (e.g. a headlamp). When running in traffic, you should run facing the direction of visibility for other road users. If you feel unsafe in the dark, find a companion: your partner, neighbour, running group or your dog might be keen. Another advantage is that peer pressure makes you less likely to cancel your run.
Last but not least: Stay alert. Therefore do not listen to the music. After all, the best sound in winter is the silence.
Challenge no. 4: Don’t feel like it
The biggest hurdle of all. Here are our top three reasons why you should not Not run - especially in winter:
Reason 1: Getting rid of the winter flab
During the cold season we usually are hungrier for hearty and calorie-rich dishes – the more reason to exercise! The time spent feasting can easily be spend running, and if you do sin, you can do so without a bad conscience.
Reason 2: Running in the dark makes us happy
In winter, the release of serotonin in our body is reduced, due to the short days. Those who jog regularly are stimulating the production of the good-mood hormone. And this not only counteracts depressive winter mood, but also makes you more energetic.
Reason 3: Charge your immune system
Regular exercise in the fresh air boosts the immune system making you less prone to contract classic winter infections.
On that note: Happy running!