4 tips for running outside during the winter

Colder temperatures don’t mean the treadmill is your only option to get in a run. Running outside in the winter is doable with the proper precautions. Orthopedic Surgeon Benjamin Petre, MD, offers four tips for winter running:

1. Wear the proper shoes.

proper-shoesOne of the most important things to do to prevent injuries is wear the right shoes. Invest in a pair that provides grip and traction to handle snow and ice. Many brands make winter-specific running shoes that are also waterproof and retain warmth. Even with the proper shoes, it’s best to avoid ice and packed snow, and slow down your normal pace.

2. Dress in layers.

layersWearing multiple lighter layers, rather than one or two heavier items, helps you adjust to the temperature accordingly as you warm up. Opt for active wear that’s breathable and moisture wicking, with a waterproof outer layer for extra insulation. It’s also a good idea to keep your legs covered and wear a hat and gloves, especially in temperatures lower than 30 degrees.

3. Wear reflective gear.

reflective-gearReflective gear is a must for winter running because of the shorter days. Make sure you are visible to traffic by wearing reflective clothing, like a vest. Or, use a bike light or headlamp with a flashing light. When possible, opt to run during the day or in a well-lit area away from roads.

4. Stay hydrated.

stay-hydratedJust because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t become dehydrated. In fact, there’s a high risk of becoming dehydrated in colder temperatures—it’s just harder to notice. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air so it’s much drier, and respiration in dry air results in more fluid loss. You are also less likely to hydrate because you don’t feel as thirsty as you do in warmer months.

Dr. Petre works with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team. Learn about slope safety tips from his experience.

Benjamin Petre, MD, Anne Arundel Medical Center

Benjamin Petre, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon at AAMC Orthopedics, a practice of Anne Arundel Medical Center. 

Originally published February 16, 2016. Last updated Jan. 21, 2020.

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