Winter Running: Regulating Your Body Temperature

Written by: Shannon Polk, Kudos Team Contributor

One of the big challenges of winter running is going from a heated home to frigid conditions, and vice versa. Even if you have the best cold-weather running gear, your body may still experience shock from a drastic temperature change. To keep your body at a healthy temperature, consider these tips: 

1) Start against the wind. If you run with the wind during the first half of your run, any perspiration you generate could feel bone-chilling if you turn around and run against a cold wind during the second half. Although it can be challenging to start a frigid run into the wind, it’s well worth the return journey because you’ll feel much warmer.  

2) Warm up slowly. Your muscles naturally tighten when you’re cold, which increases the risk of pulling something if you don’t give your body enough time to warm up. If your muscles are still feeling tight after warming up, stick to an easy pace for your run. On the coldest days, it may be best to resort to a treadmill if you’re looking to increase your speed and avoid muscle injury. 

3) Breathe in warm air. By wearing a face mask or scarf, you can keep the air you’re breathing warm and prevent chest tightness that can result from breathing in cold air. This is especially important for people with certain medical conditions like asthma. 

4) Watch for early signs of frostbite. To prevent frostbite, it’s important to wear the right clothing, stay as dry as possible and keep hydrated. If you begin to feel a prickling sensation, burning or numbness in your extremities, get to a warm place immediately. Do not apply hot water or a hot washcloth to the affected area; instead, use lukewarm water. 

5) Remove sweaty, wet clothing. When you’re finished with your run, go indoors and promptly take off any wet clothing. I usually have a loose pair of pants and a long-sleeve shirt handy so I can stretch in dry clothes and warm up my body after a run. Although it’s tempting to strip down and hop into a hot shower, there’s a chance the water could burn your cold skin. 

As a key takeaway, listen to your body. If something feels out of the ordinary or you’re just not warming up as fast as usual, modify your route so you can get out of the cold a bit sooner. For longer runs, consider sticking to routes that have buildings you can shelter in if necessary. On a final note, kudos to you for getting out there this winter! Remember to have fun, stay safe and enjoy your Kudos Coaster Plus with a warm post-run cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate!