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Winter survival

by Editor
Monday 19th December 2011
Tags  Harris and Ross   |   Jeff Ross   |   Rob Harris   |   Winter running

With winter now well and truly upon us it seems timely to think about being safe when running in winter conditions. Jeff Ross an elite sports physiotherapist and one of the founding partners of the Harris & Ross Sports & Spinal Physiotherapists gives us same great advice on how to stay motivated and on your feet during the colder days of the year

  • Set yourself a goal – in the winter it can be hard to motivate yourself to go out running so set aims e.g. increase your distance or enter a 10k race
  • Run with a group or friend – if you make your running a social occasion it helps to encourage you to get out running when it is cold outside.
  • Layer up – make sure you have the right clothing to stay warm but not overheat. Layering will help and try and ensure top layer is breathable but windproof to allow you to sweat but block out the wind.
  • Accessorise – much of your heat is lost through your head and hands so stay warm with a thin hat and gloves.
  • Light – running is much easier, if possible, during the lighter and warmer part of the day. This not only safer but allows you to feel the sun on your skin and boosts those endorphins and encephalins as well as helping with your vitamin D uptake.
  • Be seen – make sure you help stay safe by wearing reflective vests or flashing lights to allow you to be seen. Reflective strips are best seen when attached to body parts with the greatest range of movement, such as arms and legs. If it is snowing outside make sure you wear bright clothes.
  • Footwear – ensure you have appropriate footwear for the weather conditions. If it is snowy or icy outside you may be best running in a trail shoe and make sure you watch where you are going!
  • Warm up – it will take you longer to warm up when it is cold outside so allow extra time for this. It may be a good idea to walk briskly for 5 minutes before you start running.
  • Hydrate – it is important to remember that you need to replenish lost fluid and salts in the winter the same as the summer so make sure you take onboard enough liquid and take an isotonic sports drink with you.
  • Wind – if it is windy outside then start your run into the wind so that the wind is behind you later when you have been sweating and therefore has less of a cooling effect.
  • Snow – when it has been snowing outside remember to wear sunglasses to reduce the glare from the sun.
  • Traffic – be extra vigilant in the dark when running. Make sure if there is no pavement, that you face the oncoming traffic. The exception is when you are approaching a blind corner, when you will need to swop temporarily to the other side of the road, if it is safe to do so.
  • Music – leave the music at home to allow you to give your full attention to your surroundings.
  • Safety – if running alone in the dark make sure you let someone know where your route and when you are likely to return. Always take a mobile phone with you, stick to busy well lit routes and consider taking a personal alarm with you. When possible run with a friend.
  • Slips – be aware of the surface you are running on and watch out for black ice – we don’t want any slips or falls.

Happy Running and Merry Christmas from all the team at Harris & Ross Physiotherapy.

Check back soon for tips on what exercises to concentrate on during the winter months, to make sure you’re in top shape heading into spring.


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