Tips For Safe Running in Kansas City This Winter
Summer months are great for spending time outside, and many people pick up walking and running outdoors during the summer as preferable forms of exercise. And once the temperatures begin to drop in September and October, it becomes prime time for outdoor running!
But what about those winter months? These are the days when sitting by a warm fire with hot cocoa in hand seem to beckon to you more than your normal run, and they can be the hardest.
Running in Kansas City winters is made even worse by the decision of what to wear. It’s no longer appropriate to wear shorts and a tank top, but how much clothing is enough or too much? And what about your normal running routes covered in snow or ice? Do you HAVE to run on a treadmill instead?!
Here are some of the do’s and don'ts of outdoor winter running in Kansas City from the pros at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic.
Things to do before running in Kansas City this winter
There are multiple layers of clothing that add important aspects to your winter running wardrobe.
The base layer is the most important, as it is the closest layer to your body. This layer should help keep you insulated while wicking away sweat to keep you dry. Compression gear adds a nice touch as a base layer, allowing less heat to escape.
The next layer(s) should consist of some combination of long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts based on temperature, wind, and precipitation. An added short sleeve shirt can help keep your core warm.
The final layer can consist of something light, such as a windbreaker vest, to cut through the sting of the bitter cold winds.
Finally, don’t forget your hat and gloves! The body loses heat in the areas that are uncovered, so the more areas you keep warm, the warmer you will feel overall.
Dress for warmer weather.
While the thermometer may read below freezing, keep in mind your body will warm up during your run.
Dressing for weather 10 to 20 degrees warmer than reported will keep you from overheating and needing to strip too many layers. If you are planning for a long run, you will warm up more, while shorter runs may require only a 10-degree adjustment as you will have less time to heat up.
Don’t forget to factor in windchill, because it will make the air even cooler, and added precipitation in the form of rain or snow will make it harder for your body to warm itself, meaning more energy spent.
If ever in doubt, keep your run near home to easily pop in and make changes as needed. Arm sleeves are a handy item, as you can easily pull them down without the hassle of taking off a layer of clothing.
Check the forecast.
Plan ahead for days that will be warmer with better weather. Don’t get set in a typical weekly schedule, needing to complete your runs on specific days. Be flexible. If you normally run on Mondays but the forecast calls for below freezing with an added windchill factor, then look to switch your run to Tuesday if your schedule allows.
Things to avoid when running in Kansas City this winter
Don’t run in icy conditions.
We see countless patients with injuries as a result of a slip and fall, so take it from us: it’s not worth it! Unless you want to do a penguin waddle through your entire run, skip the dangers of running on ice and go ice skating instead.
It’s not the end of the world if you have to miss a day or two of running. Slipping and falling on ice will set you back much more than if you were to miss one run. Take it as an opportunity to cross-train or even use it as an added recovery day. Your body will thank you, and you won’t derail your training. If you absolutely must run outside, Yaktrax are a great addition to your shoes to provide better traction and keep you safe.
Don’t run alone or in secluded areas.
As daylight saving’s time ends, sunshine will begin to quickly disappear, making harder to complete your runs while it’s light out.
Even during the day time in the summer when the weather is better, it is never a good idea to run alone or in secluded areas. You will likely be running in the dark more during the winter months, so dangers arise whether it is a danger from another person or from poor weather conditions.
Run with your cell phone and make sure someone you trust knows where you’re headed and when you’ll be back. There are many options for ways to carry your phone with you, such as Spibelt or RooSport, that are not cumbersome. And you can add an extra layer of protection in the dark with a headlamp or reflective vest.
Still having some running pains?
If you have any additional questions about running tips or treating your aches and pains from running, the experienced team at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic can evaluate you! We can help you get back on the pavement.