Jeanne Doperak, DO
Weather conditions can change quickly so runners should really hear the forecast before they set out. Snow or rain can really increase the risk of cold related injuries during a run. Being aware of the symptoms of hypothermia is also important. If a runner starts to notice numb toes and fingers or skin changes such as red or white patches on the skin this is an indication to seek shelter sooner than later.
Following Best Practices
As you are dressing for your run you should start with a wicking layer on the bottom, avoid materials such as cotton and because most of the heat is lost through the head and hands wearing a hat and gloves is also important. Hydrating during your run can be something that we forget in the cold weather, however good fluid intake is just as important as the cold as in the heat. Lastly, let a friend or relative know your running route and about how long you’ll be so that someone is looking out for your return.
Adjust Your Route
The American College of Sports Medicine tells us it’s never too cold to exercise outside, however we should take extra precautions based on the weather forecast such as adjusting our running routes for the weather. If it’s a particularly snowy day and cars may have difficulty stopping you may want to avoid running on the side of well traveled roads and go to a more remote location.
Listen to Your Body
The human body is tremendous at sending us messages during our workouts, we just need to listen to it. If you start to feel tired, fatigued, have pain it’s better to discontinue the workout than push through it, especially if you have a medical history of issues like asthma or heart disease in cold weather it’s better to finish that run on another day.
Injury Prevention and Treatment
At UPMC Sports Medicine we offer a full complement of services for runners in injury prevention and treatment. So if you are experiencing a persistent problem it’s better to let us know sooner than later so that we can see you at the finish line.