Injury Prevention tips for Winter Running
The race scene is starting to slow down because of the cold weather. Now is the time to focus on recovery and injury prevention. Staying injury-free during the winter will allow you to hit the ground running when you start your next training regimen.
Here are a few winter running injury prevention tips to get you through the blustery Minnesota winter.
Indoor Warm Up
It’s a good idea to warm up before you head out into the arctic air. This will get your muscles prepared for work. Researchers are still trying to decide whether or not this actually helps prevent injury, and I’ve read research on both sides. The important take away is that it isn’t going to hurt you. Plus, it may at least help keep you warm on a chilly winter run.
Running on a flat surface is important when you are trying to recover or prevent injury. Uneven surfaces cause your ankle and feet to over-pronate on one foot and supinate on the other. This can obviously lead to various injuries; peroneal tendinosis, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, etc.
Flat surfaces are hard to come by during a Minnesota winter. Residents are responsible for clearing their sidewalks, but we all know some do better than others. Minneapolis does a great job of keeping the paths around the lakes plowed, but even that doesn’t remove all of the ice and snow patches along the way. This makes for some treacherous obstacles if you aren’t paying close attention.
If you are hoping to stay injury-free while building a base for next race season, one option is to look into running indoors. The dreaded treadmill is always an option but there are a few places around the Twin Cities that have indoor tracks, too.
If you are one of those people who hates running on a treadmill, like myself, then I’d recommend you find some way to increase your traction while running outside in order to prevent slipping and falling. We’d rather you not have to schedule an appointment with your local chiropractor.
I like running in trail shoes during the winter months. I wear the Newton BOCO and love it. It provides great traction and keeps my foot dry and warm during the sloppy winter season.
Another option is Yaktrax. I have never used these myself but I know a lot of people who seem to like them. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something at your local running store. We have many good stores to choose from!
Tis’ the season for coffee drinking. There is nothing like a warm cup on a cold morning but don’t forget to drink your water. It’s easy to drink less water in the winter because of the cooler temperatures. Hydration is important for injury prevention regardless of the season.
Frostbite is a real possibility when running out in the Minnesota cold. Just because your core and extremities feel warm, doesn’t mean your toes, fingers, or ears won’t get frostbite. Be sure to keep them covered with winter-appropriate socks, gloves and hats.
Lastly, I recommend carrying your phone with you. If you hurt yourself mid-run, you’re going to want to be able to reach someone for help. I carry my phone in a SPIbelt. Be careful, though. Extreme cold can damage your phone, and your warranty probably won’t cover any cold-related damage. On the colder days, wear your phone close to your body while protecting it from moisture.
Winter running can be a lot of fun, but be sure to take the proper precautions in order to prevent injury.