It’s December and winter is upon us! This means temperature drops that many of us runners love after a hot and humid summer or a milf fall, but it also means we need to be adapt and change so we can continue to enjoy our run. Here are few tips to help keep you feeling great running outside as the frost sets in:
Tip #1: Cover your ankles up in the cold weather to help prevent Achilles tendonitis. The cold can make your tendons tense or tighten, so keeping this critical area warm will help prevent injury while running.
Tip #2: Dress like how you will feel about 10 minutes into the run, you should be chilly starting off your run. This might seem self explanatory, but if you dress too warm and start getting hot and sweaty you are going to be uncomfortable during your run.
Tip #3: Wear reflective items/lights! If your running routine is early am or early evening you will find yourself out there in the dark in the fall and winter. It is imperative that drivers can see you so now is the time to make sure you have something reflective or bright on you for your safety.
Tip #4: Gradually build your pace up to help warm up your muscles and prevent injury. Being dressed for your fall / winter run means you might start off feeling a little cold. Do not go from 0-60 without giving yourself a little warm up! As stated before, the cold will make your tendons and muscles a little tight so they need to be warmed before you can expect them to perform. Give your body that grace of a warm up and you will be happy to avoid injuries.
Tip #5: Stretching at least one “tight” muscle after your run is better than no stretching. We all know we should stretch, but it feels like fall and winter days are shorter and who has the time? My advice is of course, take the time to stretch after your run! Since I know most people won’t, I highly recommend taking at least 1-2 minutes to at least stretch a muscle you know is tight for you. Remember stretching one is better than none.
Andrew Goelz is the Clinic Director of the Freehold location of Atlantic Physical Therapy Center and an avid runner. He also is the Director of the Atlantic PT Center for Running Excellence leading Runner’s workshops for the community and managing the RunLab Gait Imaging Center also inside the Freehold location. For more information on RunLab: atlanticptcenter.com/runlab