1. Run With a Friend or Group: Make your training runs safe and social. Meeting up with a friend is a great motivational source and makes you both accountable. Running with a group is a lot of fun because you can chat (if you care to chat) along the way or just dig down and run hard. Besides, it is safer to run in numbers.
2. Apparel: Having the right apparel makes all the difference in the world. Layering is the key to avoiding over or under-dressing. Consider wearing a layer that blocks the wind (pants, tights and top that wick the moisture away from your skin) and, for the coldest days, a mid-layer that fits more loosely like the Brooks Essential Pullover—that insulates and moves the moisture from your base layer away from your skin.
Your winter running wardrobe should include a running jacket, beanie, gloves (currently writing a review on a few different styles), tights and a few long-sleeve tech-shirts. Your body temperature increases as you run, so you don't need many layers in most winter conditions. Which brings me to #3.
3. Dress like it's 20 Degrees Warmer: Over-dressing is easy to do in winter running. Dressing for 20 degrees warmer than it actually is will allow your body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.
4. Run During Daylight and Warmer Times of Day: If possible, run during daylight hours so you can absorb that needed sunshine we rarely get in the winter. You'll get your miles in during the warmest time of day and come back with a smile on your face. Which coincidentally brings me to #5.
5. Hit the Treadmill: When the weather gets bone-chillingly cold or icy, hit the treadmill. Treadmill running is a great way to stay fit and you'll get in quality miles without risking an injury from slipping on ice. Not only that, it's a great way to mentally challenge yourself through the monotony of going no-where. :)
6. Be Visible: If you run when it is dark out, wear a reflective jacket, vest or flashing lights so you're seen by traffic. In snowy weather, wear bright clothing. Run with identification or a Road I.D. just in case.
7. Take Extra Time To Warm Up: Your body will warm up more slowly in cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Take at least five minutes to walk briskly before you start to run. It may take 10 to 15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo. Take a hot shower to pre-warm your muscles or put your clothes in the dryer on hot for a few minutes then head out for your run.
8. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: It is just as important to drink fluids in your winter runs as it is in the summer. Yes, you obviously need more water in the summer months when you're sweating like a pig, but don’t think that just because it is cold you don’t need to hydrate. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your runs to avoid dehydration. Use warm fluids in your water bottle or tuck it under your jacket to avoid freezing.
9. Start into the Wind: Start your run into the wind so you have the wind at your back on your way home. You'll avoid getting chilled by the wind after you've been sweating.
10. Have Fun: As runners we tend to do the same routines and routes over and over. Mix it up a bit and hit the trails! It's a great way to strengthen your legs and core and see things you normally wouldn't see running the pavement.
Stay Warm out there.
Train Hard = Race Easy, Train Smart = Race Fast