Safety when running in winter conditions
Updated 3:48 pm, Monday, February 10, 2014
Wintry conditions present the runner with hazardous situations that may not be present at other times of the year. For example, runners are often forced to work out in the darkness of early morning, or after work.
One of the most important pieces of safety equipment for added visibility is a reflective vest. It is a small investment, but may be the best life insurance one can buy for winter running. Also available are reflective tapes and arm bands. In addition, many runners carry a flashlight to alert oncoming motorists, as well as to see the road in front of them. It is also important to do warm-up exercises -- stretching and strengthening -- before entering the cold weather, as it will reduce the risk of injury that may occur as muscles tighten from the cold.
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Clothing selection is important when running in the cold temperatures. Wear several layers of light clothing to keep the wind out, and the proper materials to allow moisture to be released. Protection of the skin -- especially the face -- from frostbite is vital. It's important to wear a scarf, a ski mask, or even a surgical mask over the nose and mouth. This will also aid in warming the air which is inhaled.
Since the largest amount of body heat escapes through the head, it is important to wear a hat. Safety in footgear must also be followed; good traction on slippery roads is very important. Also, make sure the shoes are roomy for movement of the toes, as tight shoes will reduce blood supply to your feet.
In addition to following these safety guidelines for winter running, also pay close attention to changes in body temperature to prevent fatigue and perspiration, which can lead to chills or hypothermia. Also pay attention to changes in weather.