Safe Running in the Cold
Intensify efforts to run safely in times of adverse weather conditions. The cold should not stop you if you dress properly and adjust your plans. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Precede your run with a good set of warmup exercises.
- Wear multiple layers of clothing. A wide variety of clothing is designed specifically for cold weather running. Absorbent cotton should be worn next to your body.
- Wool insulates well and will help retain body heat even when wet. A nylon windbreaker is a good outer layer and can be removed and tied around your waist if not needed. Experiment to find the best clothing combination for you.
- Make sure your head and neck are well protected, as a significant amount of body heat is lost through these areas.
- Protect your extremities from exposure to prevent frostbite. In the early stages you will notice a burning sensation in the skin. Skin color will change from red to purple to white. If you notice a white, sensitive area, get out of the cold immediately. Contact a physician.
- Plan your course to run against the wind as you begin and with the wind as you return.
- Shield yourself from the wind whenever possible.
- Remember that any terrain becomes treacherous when covered with a thin layer of ice or snow. The results are poor footing, for the runner and the dangerous possibility that a car may skid or slide.
- Use an alternate route when snow accumulation leaves only a narrow, cleared lane for cars. Always ensure a margin for safety.
- Know the warning signals of hypothermia; a feeling of disorientation, loss of hand coordination, slurred speech, difficulty walking. If you are shivering, seek a warm place at once.
- Do not run long distances alone in adverse weather conditions. Observe running companions for signs of cold injury.
- Remove wet clothing as soon as possible. Wet clothing increases the risk of cold injury.
- Remember that replenishing fluids is just as important in the winter.
- Consider another form of exercise when adverse weather conditions make running dangerous.
Run The Planet thanks the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club (www.hmrrc.com) for the permission to reprint these tips. All of the above information is available in printed brochures. Should anyone be interested in bulk purchases of the brochure, we suggest to visit the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club website and contact directly the safety chairperson Harry Hennessy. Illustration copyright © 2002 by Run The Planet.