There’s nothing more refreshing than a bracing run on a crisp winter morning.

Many people only venture outside to exercise on those rare warm and sunny days. For the rest of us who like to get outdoors in the wintertime, there are a few important changes to add to your winter running routine.

Be sensible

If it’s very cold or raining hard, stay indoors. The last thing you want is to slip and injure yourself or, in a severe situation, get frostbite

Wear layers

You need appropriate clothing in cold weather. Layers are very important to ensure that you stay warm but don’t overheat during exercise. Choose technical fabrics such as dry F.I.T. (by Nike) or polypropylene (a synthetic fabric that draws moisture away from the skin) so you stay dry and warm. Avoid fabrics like cotton and wool that retain moisture and stick to your skin and make you colder. If it’s blustery, your outer layer of clothing should protect against wind chill. Don’t forget to wear a hat in the cold since a significant amount of heat is lost through the head.

Be foot-friendly

When exercising outdoors in the winter time, choose all-weather, well-cushioned trainers with a good tread to reduce the chance of slipping and twisting your ankle.

Winter Running

Be aware of your breathing

Cold air may irritate the respiratory tract and bring on angina (chest pain) or asthma in certain people so make sure your breathing doesn’t feel restricted while exercising. If it does, stop immediately and go indoors.

Stay hydrated

Even though you don’t sweat as much in cold weather, you’re still perspiring which means you’re losing water and salt. Drink lots of water before, during and after working out to replenish fluids.

Before you set off

Make sure you warm up for around ten minutes before setting off in the chill. If you exercise when your muscles are cold you have a greater chance of pulling a muscle and getting injured. Don’t expect to go at your normal pace – give yourself time to acclimatize to the different conditions and progress slowly but safely.

Enjoy your run

Being outdoors can really make your workout more fun. You’ll have a constant change of scenery and can use props like a park bench for tricep dips and stairs for step-ups to challenge yourself. Just be aware of what your body is telling you and stop if you become uncomfortable or too cold. Make sure you cool down properly and stretch again at the end of your workout, preferably inside where it’s warm. Save floor work for days you stay indoors. Enjoy your winter running and workout routines.

Feature image courtesy of our friends at Nike