By: Brian Harper
Community Outreach Coordinator
For most fitness enthusiasts, winter is a time to hunker down in the gym…work on weights, put in miles on the treadmill or do laps in the pool.
But we all know those people who are adamant about keeping their workouts outdoors, no matter how cold or snowy it is.
Though this winter may have had less freezing days than last year’s polar vortex, it is still WAY too cold not to take certain precautions if you feel you must exercise outside. Adam, a Fit Specialist at New Balance in Brookfield, is one of those runners who would rather bundle up and brave the cold than spend time on a treadmill.
“I get bored if I just run,” explains Adam. “So I also like to implement other stuff to make my workouts more fun. I like to use trees to do pull-ups and sometimes swing through a park to do dips and push-ups on the benches or pull-ups on the monkey bars.”
As a committed outdoor runner, Adam knows how important it is to use proper gear and make the right preparations to guarantee a healthy encounter with the elements this winter.
According to Adam, your first layer should be made of sweat-wicking material.
“If your shirt gets all wet from sweat, you’ll get really cold,” he explains. A sweat-wicking shirt will keep you dry and help prevent unnecessary chills.
A second layer should be a warmer fleece or pullover. If it is really cold the way it has been recently, Adam recommends a wind or waterproof jacket as a third layer.
Winter means shorter days and longer nights. If you go for a jog before 7 a.m. or after 4 p.m., you are likely to catch some dark.
“Safety is really important,” says Adam. “So you should be visible. Wear glow-in-the-dark and reflective apparel. Try to stay in well-lit areas. You can even wear a headlamp or blinking lights like bikers do.”
Many people associate dehydration with hot, summer months, but it is also crucial to consume liquids in the winter.
“Even though you might not feel as thirsty because you’re not as hot or sweating as much, you still need to stay hydrated,” says Adam. Some of Adam’s suggested methods include wearing a water belt or hydration pack or planning your route to include stops at places you know you can get free water or replenish at a drinking fountain. Of course, you can always carry a bottle if you do not mind having something in your hands while running.
Map for Motivation
Pretty much everyone in the Midwest has a Vitamin D deficiency, especially in the gloomy winter months. This affects us in a number of ways, including our mood. It is easy to feel morose and unmotivated between December and March and let your exercise fall by the wayside.
That is why it is important to plan your workouts in advance.
“If you plan your route ahead of time and implement other fun things like what I do at the park, you’re more likely to actually go through with your runs,” says Adam.
Have the Right Gear
“It is important to wear the right shoes for outdoor, winter running, particularly if you plan to be on trails,” says Adam.
A waterproof, Gore-Tex option like the New Balance WT910GTX will keep your feet dry and give appropriate traction if, like Adam, you enjoy running in nature.
New Balance Milwaukee’s Fit Specialists are ready to help you prepare for a safe running season this winter. Our Good Form Running and Walking Coaches are also here to give FREE consultations about proper running form, including determining your posture, foot strike, cadence and lean.