Best Tips for Running in Winter

Our physiotherapists share the best practical tips for runners to safely run during the colder winter season

The Best Tips for Running in Winter

Follow these practical tips to avoid injury and enjoy your winter jog!

Winter in Hong Kong generally offers drier and cooler weather with plenty of sunshine. As a result, runners in Hong Kong often find running during the winter to be more pleasant.

Despite this, the colder weather conditions mean that special preparation is needed before you begin your run. That way you can perform well, prevent injuries, and actually enjoy it!

Read on for our physiotherapists’ best tips for running during the winter.

1. Having a Thorough Warm-Up and Stretch

Proper warm-up and stretching are the most effective ways to prevent muscular injuries and enhance your running performance. Joints and muscles get stiffer in cooler weather, so make sure to perform a proper warm-up and some dynamic stretches for 15 minutes. 

Stretching will loosen your muscles and joints up while raising your core temperature to a light sweat. That way, it better prepares your body and mind when you step in the cold.

Below are some suggestions of effective dynamic warm-ups for your reference. Perform each exercise for 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions.

2. Dress Appropriately

Stay warm by dressing in layers. Here's a good rule of thumb: when running, underdress by approximately 5-10 degrees celsius. If it is 10 degrees outside, dress like it's 15 degrees..

Once you start running, your body will heat up. Dressing in layers reduces the risk of overheating and excessive sweat during your run. Damp clothing becomes cold very quickly so don't expect to just run in shorts and a vest!

3. Stay Hydrated

Running in the cold doesn't mean you are not losing as much fluids. Your body actually perspires more under your winter gears.

It is easy to neglect dehydration during winter running as the cold air keeps runners from noticing that they are sweating. However, sweat evaporates much quicker in cooler weather.

You might feel that you're not sweating much, but hydration is still very important. Make sure to stay hydrated before, during and after your run.

Pro Tip: Try to keep 6 ounces of fluid/electrolytes for every 20 minutes of running

4. Know Your Limits

Running in cold makes your body works harder and heart beats faster, which intensifies any outdoor run.

If you are training for an upcoming race, try to stay at your aerobic zone (around 70% of your maximum heart rate). That will prevent extra stress on your body and improve your conditioning during training. Also, keep the duration of your run between 30-60 minutes.

To find your aerobic zone, refer to the chart below, which shows our maximum heart rate (MHR) and the aerobic zone heart rate (which is 70% of the maximum heart rate), based on your age bracket.

5. Move Away from the Cold As Soon As You're Finished

After you finish your run, your body temperature will drop very quickly. You can prepare in advance for this:

  • Set your goal or finish line somewhere closer to a warmer location, such as your home
  • If this is not possible, try your best to change into dry, warmer clothes soon after your run

Running should be fun and relaxing for everyone. Don't let the cold get you!

Contact Us Today!

At Prohealth Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy Centres, we offer running assessments for runners of all experience levels, who are interested in improving their technique and performance. If you are interested, feel free to book a session with us!

For more information about our Running Assessments and other services we provide, contact us at +852 2530 0073, or email appt@sportsandspinal.hk.