Living in Utah, it is pretty inevitable that if you run outside, you are going to be running in the snow. I hate snow! When I came to the fact that I was going to have to run in the snow I knew I needed I should find how to do it best. Believe me, I found that winter running actually isn’t that bad—yet!
Deciding that winter running was going to be a thing of my life I had major fears. Being a driver myself in the winter I know that there is already a lot for them to focus on. It makes running outside even more dangerous.
My entire life, as a big joke, I would always say I wanted to be hit by a car. Now that I am a parent, the last thing I need in my life is to be hit by a car. Clearly, I won’t be running a ton outside when the crazy winter weather is happening, but there are many benefits that come with it.
- You’ll burn more calories. As the body works harder to regulate its core temperature among the elements, you’ll burn a few more calories during your wintry workout compared to one conducted indoors.
- You’ll strengthen your heart. Cold weather alsomakes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body.
- You’ll drink more water. The body continues to sweat, but that sweat evaporates more quickly into the chilly, dry air. Drinking water before, during and after cold-weather workouts helps maintain peak performance. Protect the body from injury and stay warm from start to finish.
- You’ll build a tolerance for the freezing elements. Pay particular attention to the amount of effort you’re putting forth rather than hitting certain time, distance or other performance goals, and try to just enjoy the process.
- You’ll remember the importance of warm-up and cool-down routines. Proper warm-up and cool-down movements are crucial to keeping the body in top fitness shape. They become even more important when it’s cold outside. Keeping the body loose, limber and warm for a chilly workout can help prevent painful twists, sprains, tears and other injuries.
Honestly, I try to keep running in the colder winter weather to about once a week. We may have the greatest snow on earth, but we also have the worst air quality during the winter months. Salt Lake County received an F grade for both ozone and particles. Overall, Utah averaged an F for ozone and a D for particulate pollution. That isn’t something I want to be running in.
But with the benefits that come from winter running, I feel like it’s nice to try. I want to incorporate that into my running schedule more—at least for now.
Photos by Megan Dial Photography