Winter Running Safety Tips
Just because there's snow on the ground or it's cold outside, doesn't mean you have to stay cooped up inside all winter. All you need to do is properly prepare and stay aware of potential dangers that come hand-in-hand with winter running. Follow these tips to run safe this winter.
Run with a Friend or a Group
Due to the shorter days, it's very likely that you may have to run at night. Your safest option for night running is to run with a buddy or group. If you don't have a running friend, think about joining a running club, not only will you have a group of people to run with, but they can also help you run faster and longer.
Always be seen when running. Wear clothing that contrasts the backdrop you're running on. If there's snow on the ground, wear dark reflective clothing. If there's no snow, then choose light, reflective clothing. Buy a blinking light to wear or flashing ankle wrap lights. It's important to be seen by cars from both your front and back side. Always run against traffic so you can see oncoming cars.
Run in populated areas or well-light neighborhoods. Stay off of remote paths when it's dark outside, and always run with your phone in case of an emergency. As an additional precaution, carry a preferred method of self defense, such a pepper spray. Let your spouse or significant other know when you're leaving for a run and approximately when you'll be back. Never go running at night without telling someone. Don't blast your music. Have an acute awareness of your surroundings and listen for any sounds, such as foot steps coming toward you.
Around 122,000 runners a year will be hit by a vehicle. 5,000 of those hit will die from their injuries. Always play it safe and be aware of your surroundings.
Dress the Part
Dress appropriately for the weather. Running on snow or ice is dangerous. If you're going to attempt it, be sure to wear the right shoes. Purchase a pair of shoes that are meant to grip the ice, or get creative and make your own. Take a pair of older running shoes and pick up some hex head screws or sheet metal screws at your local hardware store. Screw the screws into the bottom of your shoes for homemade slip-free running shoes. When you get back from your run, don't forget to dry out your shoes with newspaper to soak up excess water. Lastly, if you think it's too cold outside that's okay, you can always find an indoor track or run on a treadmill.
Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean you can get away with drinking less water. Believe it or not, you lose about just as much fluid in the winter as you do in the summer. Be sure to replenish your body with water during and after your runs.
Don't let running in the winter intimidate you. Yes, you have to take some precautions, but there's something magical about running in a winter wonderland. Be cautious, but remember to have fun! Running is suppose to be stress free, so take these tips with you and head out for your next run.