There’s something about running in winter especially after a fresh snowfall. It’s a great way to reconnect with yourself and nature. As you make your way, you can see snow covering everything. With every stride, you can see your breath and hear the snow crunching beneath your feet. Before you head out the door, you need to know how to protect the feet as you brave your run in the cold and dampness.
- Run in a trail shoe, even if you are not running on trails. Trail running shoes tend to protect your feet more than lighter nylon running shoes. Trail shoes also have more traction for slippery surfaces like slush and mud.
- Avoid cotton socks. Synthetic socks, like the ones include in our monthly Men’s PRO Fit Subscription Box, wick away moisture and help prevent blister formation and cold feet.
- Make sure your shoes fit. Running shoes used for summer may not be an appropriate fit for winter. Summer heat may make your feet swell a little while the winter coolness may cause a looser fit which can lead to more foot sliding and potential blisters.
- Pair your socks and shoes. Don’t assume your heavier socks will work with your summer running shoes. Some individuals wear heavier socks during the winter and this may lead to the toes being cramped in the front of the shoe causing discomfort, numbness and sometimes jamming of the toes leading to blood under the toenails. The reverse is also true. Your summer running socks may not work with your winter or running shoes.
- Avoid tight shoes in cold weather. Tight shoes may decrease circulation to the toes and increase the chance for nerve impingement on the top of the foot.
- Run on flat surfaces. In cold weather it is more difficult to adjust to uneven terrain because your muscles do not react as quickly. This will increase your chances of developing muscle strains and sprains. If you trail run in the winter, choose trails with fewer rocks, roots and dips.
- Don’t use your old worn-out shoes for winter running. Running shoes do wear out, so try to replace them every 6-12 months depending on mileage. Wearing shoes that are worn-out can lead to foot problems such as plantar fasciitis and tendonitis.
- Warm up slowly. Your muscles will take longer to warm-up in colder weather. Your chances of injury increase when you do not take the time to warm-up properly.
- Avoid speed work in very cold weather. Speed work in cold weather will increase your chances of injury. Consider saving speed work for the warmer days, and use the colder days for maintenance runs.
- Hit the gym. Overuse injuries occur more frequently in the winter as a runner unconsciously alters his gait to adapt to slippery, hard to see surfaces. Building muscle and flexibility can make for stronger runs.
Even if you’re not an avid runner, going for an occasional 20-30 minute run in the cold air can be invigorating and a nice change of pace. Be smart. Like any other activity, having the right equipment makes what you do more effective and enjoyable.