As the temperature’s stay cold here in Ohio, it is important to know how we can continue our workout routines and running schedule. This time of year most runners trade in for a treadmill or elliptical. Or, they settle for not staying active at all. But, there is no reason to let the cold weather slow down your running goals!

By following these cold weather running tips, you won’t have to modify your runs, or let them take a back seat. You’ll be prepared for a productive run.

  • Dress appropriately and in layers!

You’ll want to first ensure that no bare skin is exposed. By protecting your skin from the elements, you’re preventing extreme dry skin, windburn, and in extreme cases hypothermia. You’ll also want to make sure you have the appropriate clothing. Wearing moisture wicking clothing as your first layer is essential to keeping you comfortable during your run. The synthetic clothes will allow you to stay dry as you sweat, and act as a better insulator. Stay clear of cotton clothing, especially for this first layer. You’ll then want to focus on layering. Throwing on a long sleeve shirt, or light hoodie will work as a middle layer. You’ll want to finish off with a weather protective outer layer. For example, this could be a wind breaker or any other waterproof jacket you have. You’ll want this layer to protect you from the elements. Lastly, don’t forget to grab your gloves and facemask. Layering your clothing will allow you to adjust to the weather during your run. It is important that once you return from your run to change into dry, warm clothes.

  • Be aware of the cold weather changes

During the winter, the days are much shorter and the daylight disappears much faster. Therefore, there is an increase in people running in the dark. For your safety, try running routes that have streetlights and sidewalks. It is also beneficial to wear a reflective or flashing light. During the cold, snowy months our visibility can decrease. By wearing a reflective light, you’ll alert others that there is a runner to be cautious of. It is important to be aware of how the surfaces we run on will change. Try to avoid snow and slushy areas as it can impact the traction we have to the road. Ice is another area you’ll want to avoid. If you find yourself in this position, slow down and try taking smaller strides.

  • Know the signs

You’ll want to be aware of the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when your body temperature reaches 94°F or below. You can get hypothermia by wearing the improper clothing, long periods of exposure to cold weather, and dehydration. Signs that hypothermia has started to develop are extreme shivering and lack of coordination.

Frostbite occurs when you have been exposed to frigid temperatures for an extreme period of time. Frostbite is most common in the fingers, toes, nose and ears. This can happen if you’re not properly dressed for the weather. You may see skin turn white and experience a numbness feeling in the affected area.

  • Be prepared for an emergency

In case of an emergency, you want to have a plan. Consider running with a buddy, or keeping a phone on you.

By following these tips and being prepared for your cold, snowy run, you can stay just as active in the winter months.