A Winter Workout Guide for Runners - IMPACT Physical Therapy

A Winter Workout Guide for Runners


Are you training for your next big race? Or are you working off that holiday weight and trying to hit your New Year’s resolution? No matter what your goals are, trying to get a good workout in the winter can seem like a daunting task. Whether it is due to minimal hours of daylight or excruciating weather conditions, it’s important to know how to plan your workout and find the perfect balance for your own set of goals. Follow these tips below to ensure a successful and effective run.

6 Tips to Safely Run in the Winter

1. Warm Up

While you should be stretching and warming up before any workout or physical activity, it’s absolutely crucial to do so during the winter months. By stretching before your workout, your body won’t feel as stiff and the weather won’t feel as cold once your blood starts flowing. You’re at a much greater risk of pulling a muscle or overusing a muscle when running in the winter, so remember to take caution and prevent injury.

2. Bundle Up In Layers 

Dressing in multiple light layers rather than one heavy layer during your run will help trap body heat. This goes for everything from socks to sweatshirts! The general rule is to dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer to ensure warmth without excessive sweating. Start with a layer of polypropylene to absorb body sweat and wear an outer breathable layer of nylon that will help protect against wind and precipitation. If you’re warm and comfortable when you first start your run, then you’re probably overdressed and will start sweating early on. Find the right balance of layers that’ll get you through your whole workout!

3. Be Flexible with Your Workouts

Winter weather can be the most inconsistent of all the seasons, making it difficult to stick to a running plan. You might be used to running at night, but in the winter, you’ll need to adapt your workout to fit daylight or warmer temperatures. If you’re training for a marathon and need to go for distance, try breaking up your run into two sessions so you’re body isn’t subjected to extra hours of harsh conditions. Five miles in the morning and five miles in the afternoon is a lot easier on your body than ten miles at night.

4. Run Into The Winter Wind

Despite your initial thoughts, running into the wind will help your body. By starting your workout in the wind, you’ll finish with it at your back by the end of your workout, and the lashing cold front won’t hit you when you’re feeling fatigued. This will help your endurance as well as protect you from getting sick and missing any future workouts.

5. You’re Not Running For Speed

Winter running isn’t about speed it’s about maintenance! Snow and ice make running in the winter hazardous, and an injury is the last thing you want during training. Find a pace that’s comfortable for you and stick to it. If you’re unsure how to get the most out of your workout, we suggest using an athletic trainer to reduce the risk of injury and increase athletic performance.

6. Don’t Forget About The Treadmill

It’s true that there’s no better workout than running, but for days when the roads are covered in winter slush and black ice, a treadmill will become your best friend. Try staggered inclines and speeds to work different muscle groups in your legs. It might be an odd feeling at first and may temporarily throw off your normal pace/stride, but a treadmill workout is better than no workout at all.

Contact Fitness Professionals at IMPACT Physical Therapy in Chicago, IL

If you’re ready to IMPACT your running then stop by IMPACT Physical Therapy in Chicago for our Runner’s Analysis. Our expert therapists will analyze your level of pronation and pinpoint the areas of your body that may be affecting performance and efficiency. We’ll help you make every stride count! For more information, please contact us today.