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Here are some tips to help you do it without getting injured!

The air is crisp and fresh and there is a muffled silence around you as you head out for a sub zero run. Maybe there is snow falling. Perhaps it’s too cold for snow and everything is frozen solid. Running in the winter can be enjoyable, as long as you make sure to properly prepare yourself!

Warm up
The athletic therapist in me visualizes how a run like that would unfold and where injury could occur. Most obvious is the effect of temperature on your body and it’s ability to warm up to performance levels (2-3 degrees Celsius above your normal). Montreal winters can swing from a mild -10 Celsius to a bone chilling -36 Celsius. Obviously the colder it is, the longer it will take your body to heat up. Increasing your intensity too quickly before your muscles are ready can lead to a strain. Here are two sample warm ups to help prevent that:

  1. Add an extra 10 minutes onto your run to use as your ramp up time. Start slow and increase your speed as you feel your body loosen up and get warmer.
  2. Start your warm up inside! Do a calisthenics circuit for 5 -6 minutes then head out. Try each of the following circuit 2-3 times, 30 seconds per exercise: skipping, high knees, butt kicks, forward lunges, side lunges. If you’re dressed up in your winter running gear, you will be very warm and ready to go!

Our sidewalks and roads are notoriously slippery in the winter. A nice run can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re not sure of your footing. Another kind of injury high up on the list are ankle sprains (aka rolled ankles, twisted etc). Before you head out:

  1. Spend some time working on your balance and proprioception. You can use a balance disk, BOSU, Bongo board, wobble board or even a pillow. Stand on one leg in a corner (so you can catch yourself if you fall) and practice balancing for 60 seconds per side.
  2. Ensure that you have proper footwear. Trail shoes tend to have softer rubber which offer better grip in the cold. A set of slip on ice cleats will upgrade your favorite running shoe for safe winter running.

Don’t let the weather stop you from running! Simply planing ahead will go a long way to making even the coldest days fun! These are just a few tips for you to consider before heading out for a cold weather activity.

Jesse is a Certified Athletic Therapist at Club Pointe-Claire’s clinic as well as a personal trainer. If you would like to consult Jesse about injury prevention or returning to sport after an injury, contact the clinic at [email protected] or give them a call, 514-390-1230.


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