Some runners are dedicated to their sport, no matter the weather. Those who exercise in adverse conditions with common sense are less prone to injury if they run all year long. Plus, they get to enjoy the benefits of cardiovascular conditioning, increased caloric burn, and better appreciate the outdoors. But there are risks in any sport. Runners can minimize those risks with a little bit of advance preparation. These recommendations should help keep you safe when running in the rain or snow.

Running in the Rain

Listen to the weather reports. Runners should avoid running in the rain when there is lightning and should be cautious if they hear thunder. It is better to run around your block a few times than to venture out further and risk getting caught in a thunderstorm and struck by lightning. Other options include shortening your workout and hitting the gym for a treadmill run if weather conditions will be treacherous. and offer up to date weather conditions, including temperature, humidity, and wind conditions. Entering your zip code will give you up to date information. Consult these sites when you are packing for a destination run. Even in mild conditions ,hypothermia can occur. Any body temperature that falls below 95 degrees results in loss of mental consciousness and a deficit of blood pressure and 91 degrees or lower results in limbs becoming immobile with unconsciousness. When running in the rain, wear a cap with a breathable bill. This will help keep sweat from running down your face and help heat pass away from your head. It will also help keep rain off your face. Water resistant scarves also work as well. Have at least two towels for the car: one for drying off after the race and the second to put on your seat to keep your car dry. This is especially helpful if you are not able to change after a race. If you cannot stay inside a building when waiting for a race to begin, sit under an awning or wear a disposable garbage bag or garment bag, and wear plastic shopping bags around your feet. Cut out two openings in the bag for your arms. Remove plastic attire before running, however. Your body needs to breathe. During a recent race, I checked in my raincoat separately right before the race because I had checked in my gear bag with my friends prior to the run.

How to Run in Snow and Ice

Fresh, unpacked snow that is less than 4 inches deep is excellent for running. Run during the day, and if you must run at night, be sure to carry a light to see icy spots. Focus on your running and avoid distractions such as listening to an ipod or musical device. If you cannot run without music, run with only one earpod. Keep your eyes on the road and constantly scan for icy spots. Slow down your speed and cut back on your mileage. You are already getting an aerobic and strength workout when you run in trail snow. Beware of objects “ice , logs, and rocks” hidden under the snow. Be cautious when running up and down hills; there may be a layer of ice underneath. Don’t run on ponds or lakes even if they have been proven to be safe for walking. Avoid black ice at all costs.

Consider running on the street instead of the trails if there is any ice. Consider sacrificing speed for safety by using snow shoes or Yaktrak and inexpensive traction devices you simply stretch over your regular shoes or boots to safely walk or even run on ice and packed snow the same way you do on dry payment. Shoes with trail tread are also useful in snowy conditions. Consider having different kinds of shoes for various types of weather. A good running store can guide you in your quest for a pair of safe running shoes. Wear wool socks in two layers to keep your feet warm. Smartwool socks are great to use when the temperature reaches 30 to below zero temperatures. Dress in layers and cover up extremities such as fingers, ears, cheeks, chins, wrists, and toes since they are especially prone to cold. If part of your body hurts or is cold, adjust clothing or consider cutting your run short for safety. Dress in layers and use items that have zippers so you can take them off and wrap them around your body as you get warm. Make sure that they are the kind that can be taken off and then put on again if necessary. Consider wearing a hoodie, hat, or skimask. They wisk moisture away from the skin. Wear at least three layers on your upper body: a dry weave long or short-sleeve shirt, another layer of dry fit material and a sweatshirt or light running coat. Mittens are better than gloves because they force your fingers to stay together for warmth. Hand warmers such as Grabber Mc Coal have guaranteed seven hours of warmth in each packet. They also work well to keep your feet warm. Even in the snow, sunglasses are essential to reduce glare.

General Considerations

When running in rain and snow, it is important to dress for the conditions. Runners should avoid cotton at all costs because it absorbs both rain and snow. The heat and wet from cotton moves from the outer layer to the skin of the body. Dri-fit, Gore-Tex, Cool Max, polypropylene, and wicked athletic clothing (from underwear to outerwear) allows the moisture from the individual and from the elements to stay outside of the body and lay on the outer part of the clothing. Underarmor, Breath Thermo , and Race Ready make light and breathable clothing that traps heat but keeps the body dry, warm, and comfortable during rainy and snowy conditions. It also wicks the moisture away from the body. Wind and water resistant clothing is also important for a jacket, vest, or outer layer. Wearing a waterproof slicker will trap the heat and make the runner hot in wet conditions. Socks that have wool will keep you dryer and warmer as they wick the water away from your shoes and feet. Smartwool makes socks that are perfect to use as one layer or multiple layers to run smoothly and stay warm. Shoes that have cushioned soles , have plenty of support and traction, and that are not worn daily are best in any precipitation conditions. Brooks, Asics, Addias, Nike, and New Balance have a nice assortment of shoes for many body types and running conditions. When you have finished the run be sure that you not dry your wet shoes in the dryer. Instead, stuff them with newspaper to keep their shape. Remove orthotics immediately after a run to maintain their shape and to allow them to dry faster. Clothing that is brightly colored is easier for drivers to see in the rain and snow. Headlamps, small flashlights, and flashing shoe lights make you more visible to motorists. Outerwear such as bright orange and yellow vests and wrist and ankle bands reflect bright street and vehicle lights. Clothes should be in layers and the runner should dress twenty degrees warmer than the current conditions to avoid overheating. Use petroleum jelly or Body Glide to help protect those areas that rub and chafe. This rubbing increases during wet conditions such as rain or snow. Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid puddles and ice and keep a longer distance between you and cars. It is better to sacrifice time than your body. Drink plenty of water. You can dehydrate just as fast in snow and rainy weather as you do on a hot summer day. Gels, bars, and beans help keep your energy up as you put extra strain on your body running in averse conditions. Even on the trail, be aware of other runners, cyclists, skiers, and skaters. They will need more time to stop in adverse conditions. Watch the wind. You are more prone to frostbite and hyperthermia when you run in cold or wet weather. After you run, be sure to get inside and change into dry clothes. Take a shower, sauna, or bath. This will ensure that you will stay warm. Any drop of three degrees to the body’s temperature can cause physical affects. Carry your cell phone in a plastic ziplock bag. If you run into trouble, a phone call will quickly bring you the assistance you need. Family, friends, the local police, and rangers at forest preserve are great numbers to store inside your cell phone. When running in your neighborhood, have safe places that you can stop in an emergency such as a friendly local business or friend or neighbor’s residence. A longer dynamic warm-up is important in conditions of rain. High steps, slow jogging, kicks, and fast walking is effective. Stretching after five minutes is also beneficial. You may want to consider joining a running club or running with friends. This will help you stay committed to your training and will help keep you safe on the trails and streets.

If you want to avoid using your treadmill for a run, get outside, brave the elements, and find out what is fun in an outside run!

How to Jog in Cold Weather
How to Keep Running in the Snow Season
Running in the Rain

Christina Chapan

Christina Chapan

Christina Lee Steele Chapan is a certified personal trainer with four certifications from ISSA ACE, AFAA and SCW. She specializes with fitness for children and those adults and children with special needs. In addition to attaining her certifications, she is also a certified elementary and special education school teacher with a B.S. in Elementary Education, a minor in Biblical Studies from North Central University, an endorsement in Special Education, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Development from Governors State University. Her passion is for training the future of tomorrow. She is available for training, speaking and writing.
Christina Chapan

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