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Jogging in winter: top tips

With our tips, jogging will become a joy in winter as well – despite the icy cold temperatures.

If a runner takes too much of a break over the winter months, it will take quite a few training sessions in spring to return to their previous fitness. This is because the capacity of the cardiovascular system declines if it is not pushed for an extended period. Components of fitness such as strength, coordination and flexibility also have to be built up again. However, it is possible to train outdoors pretty much all year round in this country. Provided that temperatures do not drop too low and the ground is not frozen, there is really nothing standing in the way of running in winter – except for your inner couch potato.

Here are some useful tips for jogging in winter:

Drink a sufficient amount
Fluid loss while running is still very high in winter – similar to in summer, really. Drink a sufficient amount before and afterwards. A warm soup after your run is a great way to get some additional heat.
The right route
Forests continue to be great running terrain in winter. If running after dark, make sure you choose a well-lit route. Beware though, roads and pavements may very well be slippery if they have just been cleared of snow. Check that the route has been not only cleared but also gritted.
Sun protection and sunglasses
Snow reflects the sunlight, so remember to wear sun cream in good weather. Sunglasses with orange-tinted lenses make it easier to see uneven ground.
Warm-up and stretching
It might be good to make the warm-up period a little longer or stretch indoors to warm up the muscles beforehand. If you want to do some stretching after your run, do so in a spot protected from the wind or even indoors. Ensure that you do not spend too long outside in the cold in damp clothing.
The right intensity
Adapt the intensity of your training to the temperature and your physical condition. If need be, slow down a little and run for longer instead. Running on snow pushes the muscles in a similar way to jogging over sand. If you train out in the cold regularly, your body will get used to it. You can then increase the intensity over time.
The right clothing and other equipment

Buy running shoes with a good tread. Waterproof footwear is recommended for running in snow. Trail shoes are best for deep snow. Attach spikes or snow chains so you don’t lose your grip on icy terrain. Wear reflective clothing and maybe also a head torch, so you are clearly visible to other road users. Gloves and a scarf offer protection from the cold, but also remember to put on a hat, because the greatest heat loss when jogging is via your head.

Dress by following the onion layering system. If you are a little cold at the start of the run that is not an issue. You will soon warm up as your body gets moving. When jogging in winter, above all make sure your trunk is protected. The best way to do this is with three layers of clothing:

  • The first layer should be breathable and sweat-absorbing.
  • The second layer provides thermal insulation.
  • The third layer (a jacket) should offer protection against wind, rain and snow.
The right running technique
Adapt your running technique to the conditions. Shorter and flatter steps will help stop you slipping. Concentrate on the propulsion and landing phases of your stride. Focus on where you place your feet for better grip.
Tips to get motivated
Arrange to meet friends for a run or set yourself a target to be reached at the end of winter. Sign up for a race in spring, for example, as this will put you under a bit of pressure to train.

If you still do not enjoy jogging outdoors in winter, you can train on a treadmill instead. Swimming is also a good alternative. Or, why not simply focus on coordination, stability and strength training? Then you will be full of energy and motivation when spring comes around again.

Donate your kilometres

Every step on the Helsana trails counts! Donate the kilometres that you have tracked to the Theodora Foundation, whose giggle doctors help children in hospitals to laugh. Find out more here .

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