By: Pamela Mazzuca HBSc. Kin, Athletic Therapist
Running is a physical and repetitive sport. Unfortunately like most sports there is an inherent risk of injury, both traumatic and chronic in nature. And running through the frigid and unpredictable weather of Canadian winters certainly can increase your risk of injury. But if you enjoy being the person laying down the first footsteps in the freshly fallen snow here are some tips to help keep you healthy this winter.
DRESS FOR IT
Dressing for a run can be a bit of a challenge as the mercury drops. You want to wear enough clothing to prevent frostbite but you don’t want to be too warm that you begin to overheat. The best option is to slightly under dress for the temperature and to dress in layers that are bright and reflective. This way you can peel off layers as you warm up while remaining visible to drivers in the darkness of winter. You may also want to consider a pair of waterproof, or at least water resistant, shoes to help keep your feet dry and help prevent frostnip toes.
Some runners wear the same shoes year round, others opt for a trail running shoe with a grippy sole during the winter to help increase their traction on slippery surfaces. And still others invest in a pair of traction devices, which attach to your regular running shoes to help improve traction on packed snow and ice through spikes and metal coils.
As the temperature drops be sure to get your blood pumping, without breaking a sweat, before you head out the door. Try running a few flights of stairs, skipping or jumping jacks inside for five minutes before heading out to help get your muscles warmed up.
Winter is not the ideal time to do too much hill training as the slush, snow and ice can really make hills dangerous. Stick to flat, even terrain during the winter months to help reduce the risk of a fall or a rolled ankle.
Even though you may not feel thirsty in the cold you still need to drink plenty of water. You need to replace the fluids that you lose through sweat in order to keep your body working optimally.
EVERY RUN ESSENTIALS
Don’t forget your cell phone, a piece of ID or a bit of cash incase you need a ride home. And if you suffer from asthma you definitely want to remember to bring your puffer since the cold, dry weather of winter can put you at a greater risk of an asthma attack.