If you just love running, then a little snow on the sidewalk or a particularly freezing morning would not get in the way. But if you are trying to fall in love with running, then waking up on those mornings or crawling out of the couch on a cold evening is a battle with your mind. While the only way to beat your mind is to start running.

And now that you know that, also learn to respect the elements and take special care when stepping out for your winter runs.

Warm up
This should come as no surprise to those who do it regularly, but warming up really does help you get warm in the cold. It’s imperative that you don’t start running with cold muscles. Unlike a car which just refuses to start in the cold, your body won’t refuse but your muscles will not be ready to take on the strain. Warm up, get them loosened up and get your body temperature up by a degree or two.

Avoid dehydration
Just because it’s cold out there, don’t avoid your hydration routine. In cold weather your body reacts less slowly to the effects of dehydration, making it even more imperative to keep hydrated. Be attentive to the smallest of signs, and always break for a drink or sip during any run longer than 20 minutes.

Take precautions
If you are suffering from respiratory problems then consult your doctor before running in cold weather as your respiratory system works harder during your winter runs.

Also, this will be one of those few opportunities in the year when you can flaunt your fluorescent shorts or neon green and yellow jackets. It’s important that you maintain visibility while running; dawn and dusk hours would be foggy, especially for passing motorists. Couple up your gear with battery-powered, portable strobe lights particularly if you’re navigating through trails or poorly-lit roads.

Set a goal
Set a goal such as running a specific number of kilometres in a day, or running for a set time. That way you would be more eager to tackle the cold. But don’t hurry into your run without a warm up. Setting a goal also eggs you on to wake up and run in the morning.

Finally, make sure you are not covered in layers of clothing. Pick something that’s light yet warm, because your body won’t need insulating layers after your warmup. And make very certain that you don’t have shoes that have holes or perforations as water can easily enter your shoe cavity and freeze your foot.

Main image: Divasrun

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