5 Safety Tips for Winter Running

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It's vital that you listen to your body when the temperature drops. This might mean cutting a run short because of a minus 20-degree wind chill or hopping on the treadmill when the roads are iced over.

Runners also tend to ignore the warning signs of dehydration. You don't feel like you're sweating as much when you're cold, so hydration isn't a problem, right?

"Runners tend to underestimate the need to replace fluids in colder temperatures," explains Keller.

Be sure to continue to take in fluids all day, the same as you would in the summer. The rule of thumb is to drink when thirsty and carry water or a sports drink with you're on longer runs.

What to Do When You're Sick

Even when you do everything right, the winter often dishes up seasonal illnesses. In this case, what not to do is more important than what you should do.

"When you find yourself battling an upper respiratory infection, the best training you can schedule is to rest and allow your body to recover before getting back to running," says Keller.

"Convincing yourself that missing a few workouts is best for you is hard, but your aerobic fitness won't suffer with a few days of reduced mileage or intensity."

Keep tabs on your energy levels, and if you feel a cold coming on, back off immediately. If you're coming off more focused summer and fall training, your body may need a break anyway.

"Winter typically provides a time to prepare for a pre-competition to competition phase of training," says Keller. "I encourage the runners I coach to take advantage of this opportunity verses trying to maintain a race specific performance longer than designed."

Put simply, unless you have a big race planned in the winter months, consider a bit of rest and relaxation a necessary part of the overall training picture and you'll be raring to go in the spring.

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