Five Ways To Stay Warm And Avoid Hypothermia On Winter Runs

Halloween, Bonfire Night and the clocks going back all signal that we are now deep into Autumn. The leaves are dropping and so is the temperature! We usually think of the issues with climate in terms of heat exhaustion and dehydration but there are dangers on cold winter runs too. None of us really enjoy being cold but failing to prepare properly for winter running could result in the potentially serious condition of Hypothermia.

The symptoms of hypothermia include

• Uncontrollable shivering
• Numb fingers and toes
• Loss of coordination
• Confusion

When we run in cold weather, our body can fail to produce as much heat as it is losing. Is this an excuse to avoid running in the winter? – No! Winter running is fun and builds a vital training base for the spring. So what can we do to stay warm and safe?….

1. Dig out your hat & gloves

We lose a large amount of heat through our head so it is important to keep it covered. On very cold days a hat is essential to limit this heat loss. Sadly, as gorgeous as woolly headbands look they only keep your ears warm and won’t prevent the heat lost through the top of your head.

Gloves will keep your hands warm and help to keep your body at the right temperature. If you get too hot during your run you can always take them off and zip them in a pocket or tuck them into your waistband. Look for some lightweight running gloves that will keep your hands warm but not too sweaty.

2. Wear appropriate kit

Even when it is freezing cold you will produce sweat during your runs. Removable layers are a good idea to help you to control your temperature. Try to wear technical fabrics that wick sweat away from the skin. A good base layer is the foundation of this layering approach. You can view the Run Mummy Range of winter kit here.

3. Avoid getting wet

Running in the wet and cold compounds the issue of your body temperature dropping. If it is raining before you set off, it is important to wear a waterproof (or at least shower proof) jacket. As tempting as it is to do your best Peppa Pig impression – it is a good idea to avoid running through puddles, muddy or otherwise. Wet, cold feet will make it harder to maintain your body temperature. There are a number of waterproof sock brands on the market too if you just can’t stay out of those puddles.

4. Plan your run around the conditions

If possible, try to avoid running in the worst of the weather. If it is very windy when you go outside, try to start your run off by running into the headwind while your body is still relatively warm. When possible avoid running in the dark as this is usually the coldest part of the day.

5. Warm up afterwards

Get inside as quickly as you can after your run. Remove your damp clothing immediately – including your sports bra. Put on warm comfortable clothes to stretch. Do your stretches inside. Drink a warm drink. If practical, have a warm shower or bath.

Enjoy your running this winter and stay safe.  Let us know of any other tips you have for staying warm on your runs once the temperature drops.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like this article  about winter running or this one from Jeff Galloway.

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