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How to Warm Up for a Run in Cold Weather


A full body warm up isn’t just a nice to have, come winter is a MUST do for runners.

Having a little trouble convincing yourself to get outside in the cold? While we know I’m a fan of the treadmill {checkout 7 boredom busting workouts}, there is a lot to be gained from enjoying a run in the winter…

First you feel like a bada** for being outside while the rest of the world is tucked away!
Second you get the roads to yourself which is calming and centering in a way that those at home will never know.
Third there’s the whole extra fat burning thing (yeah seriously read about it). Winter running tips

Why We Need a Full Body Warm Up?

It’s cold and the faster we start moving those legs, the faster we warm up…but that my friends is not a warm up!

Remember that it can take your body 4-6 weeks to adjust to new temperatures.

This means a pace that felt easy in the Fall, could be dramatically harder during your first winter workout because cold temperatures restrict blood flow. Pushing yourself to hit a faster pace when your muscles feel tight can result in a pull or tear. Including this short warm up and then easing into your pace during the run will significantly reduce chances of injury and frustration.Winter running tipsDuring a workout, up to 80 percent of blood volume is shifted to the active muscles. Warming up for 12-15 minutes helps the body transition from rest to action without creating stress on the organs or brain.

Dr. Phil Maffetone provides these more specific reasons why warming up prior to your winter run will result in better performance:

  • Greater efficiency of joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments
  • Greater range of motion
  • Increased oxygen availability
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Release of stored fat for energy
  • Creates a routine for mental preparation

How to Warm Up for a Run in Cold Weather

I’ve seen a LOT of 10 minute warm ups and if we’re being honest my normal dynamic warm up probably takes that long now because I add in foam rolling and all kinds of things like that.

But today, we’re busting excuses and cutting that time in half to make sure you DO IT.

5-Minute Indoor Warm Up

This 5 minute full body warm up will get you toasty and your muscles prepared…note this many not apply to those in polar vortex situations where the temperature is technically stupid cold.

Soon I’ll be sharing with you a longer more advanced workout for those who are really ready to take their running up a notch. This one is meant to be fast and simple, so you’ll get in the habit of doing it! Full Body Warm Up Exercises

So, while you’re still debating if you can handle a run in the cold, get dressed and start moving, simply feeling warmer might convince you it won’t be so bad out there.

BONUS TIP: Before you get started, set your GPS watch on a windowsill or outside on your porch to avoid time spent standing around outside. If you have the satellites turned on to remember your previous location it should connect, while you’re inside warming up.

Avoid all static stretching, which your muscles are not yet warmed enough for.

Warm Up Exercises At Home

Instead, increase circulation with the following series of dynamic movements, which are designed to increase blood flow and begin to wake up your glutes which are often inactive from sitting!

  • Hip circles
  • Knee circles
  • Leg swings
  • Squats
  • Trunk rotations

Now that your muscles are warmed up, it’s time to get your heart pumping faster. Spend the next two minutes performing this sequence of fast-paced moves:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Front lunges — focus on the push off and activating the glutes
  • Side lunges
  • Squat jumps — focus on landing very lightly

And you can never go wrong with a few rounds of the greatest stretch: roll down to plank, then right leg out and twist open to sky, back to plank, walk hands to feet and roll up.

Time for bragging rights!!

Winter Running Guides

Need a little more to get you going in the winter?

What’s the coldest temperature in which you’ve gone out for a run?

Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Fun: RunToTheFinish

Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinishrunning coach

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