Special thanks for this informative blog post by Kristi Moore, MSPT, Alpine Physical Therapy’s key leader in all aspects of performance and injury prevention for area runners.
Running in the winter months can be fun, beautiful, and a great work out. Here are some important tips to help you prevent an injury while enjoying running at this time of year.
- Dress appropriately. This is important as the temperatures can change rapidly in Montana. Layers work best with a wicking layer closest to your skin. You may need to be prepared to shed a layer, then add it back. You want to avoid shivering and sweating too heavily. Also remember a hat!
- Warm up for a longer period than you would in warmer temperatures. Your body will take longer to be warmed up and ready to run when it is colder. It may take 10-15 minutes before your muscles are ready to push to a run. Don’t forget to stretch and replenish liquids afterward. Even though it is colder your muscles still need a good stretch after your run.
- Avoid trying to improve your speed during winter running. It will take longer to get further due to the added challenges of running on uneven, possibly icy terrain. Your normal stride will likely be shorter to prevent slipping and sliding.
- Wear shoes with good traction, or use something to improve your traction like Yak Trax. The slipping during toe off can lead to multiple injuries including: stress fractures, achilles tendon problems, and even stress to the tibia.
- While doing your strengthening and conditioning during this time of year, make sure to do balance work. This can include single leg standing first on flat ground, then on soft surface (like a pillow). Next add in arm movements or opposite leg movements. You will appreciate the improved reaction times when running on winter surfaces.
- As always be careful of increasing too quickly with distance, intensity, or amount of running. It can be more harmful in the colder months due to the stresses on tissues that repetitive injuries can create when added to the stresses of running on uneven and potentially icy terrain.
- Run with a friend. Since this is the time when you may be running slower, it might be a great time to run with a friend. This is also important if you do happen to fall, as there will be someone there to help.
Winter time running can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, so grab a friend and have fun!
You can contact Kristi by calling Alpine Physical Therapy North at 406-541-2606. For more information on Kristi and the services we offer, click here.