5 Safety Tips for Running in Cold Weather
Running in cold weather presents some unique safety concerns. Extreme temperatures can even pose life-threatening risks if you don't take some basic precautions.
1. Always tell someone where you're going and when you expect to arrive home.
Make sure that at least one competent person is aware of your plans. If you don't arrive as expected, they'll recognize that you're missing and know where to look for you.
2. Always wear reflective gear when running after dark.
Due to the decrease in daylight hours, it's more likely that you'll be running in the dark during the winter. Make sure you wear light-colored, reflective clothing so that you can easily be seen by oncoming vehicles.
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3. Run short loops.
When it's cold outside, consider running multiple laps of a short course, rather than one longer loop. This ensures that you'll never be far from home in the event of an emergency. Running a short course also ensures that you won't be heading into bad weather for an extended period of time, which, aside from being extremely unpleasant, can significantly lower your body temperature.
4. Be careful rounding corners.
At least once a year I manage to fall flat on my face after stepping on an icy surface. The biggest risk occurs when you try to change direction with ice underfoot. Make sure you go very slowly when turning corners and be very careful on icy surfaces. Don't worry about losing fitness by running a bit slower; the main goal is to get through the run without pulling a muscle or injuring yourself in a fall.
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5. Carry your cell phone, identification and some cash with you for an emergency.
If you run into a major problem, make sure you have your cell phone handy and enough cash to get you home if necessary. This is good advice for any run, at any time of year. Sometimes unavoidable circumstances can leave you stranded and you definitely do not want to find yourself out in the cold, unable to run, and several miles from home without help.
The main message is this: Running in cold weather requires some planning and some sensible precautions. Once these are taken care of, your runs will be safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.
More: 4 Cold-Weather Running TIps for Beginners
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