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Winter Training Tips

Winter Running Gearphoto © 2005 Stephan Meyer | more info (via: Wylio)For those of you who like to venture outside for winter workouts, here are a few winter training tips!

First, make sure to spend some time warming up your muscles prior to getting outside. This can be accomplished by doing some light aerobic activity in the house, jumping jacks, running stairs, running in place, or even taking a hot shower. The goal is to spend a little longer than you usually would and really warm your muscles up.

Next, you want to use base-layer clothing made from fabrics that are designed to wick moisture away from your skin. This will keep you dry and warm for the duration of the workout

Do not overdress. Though this may feel nice and comfortable at the beginning, you will sweat much more than you would otherwise, making your clothes wet. Wet Clothes = Cold Body. Generally speaking, if you feel slightly cool before starting your activity, you have dressed perfectly for the conditions.

Dress to your training plan. Hard workouts will require less clothing than easier workouts. If you are unsure how to dress, bring a shell jacket that can be used for your warm-up and cool-down, but can be easily taken off and stowed for the more difficult part of the workout.

Wear shades. In most cool or cold weather conditions, sport sunglasses will protect eyes from the bright sun reflecting off of the snow and prevent them from watering due to the cold or wind.

Keep it down. The down coat is king when it comes to cold environments and intermittent activities that involve stopping. A light-weight down coat is the perfect solution to keep you toasty during winter sports that incorporate periods of prolonged rest.

Staying on your feet and keeping them warm go a long way toward enjoying outdoor winter activities. Over-layering your feet will cause them to sweat, which can lead to cold toes. For cardiovascular-based sports, a single pair of warm, wicking socks will normally do. In very cold conditions or for gravity-based sports, use a double layer of socks.

A good trail running shoe provides extra traction for slippery surfaces and many offer waterproof features that help keep your feet dry. In areas with deep snow, a pair of light gaiters will keep the snow out of your shoes.

H2O. One of the biggest challenges for training in cold temperatures is avoiding de-hydration. While it may feel unappealing, drinking regularly during these lower temperature workouts is just as necessary as in warmer weather. Filling water bottles with lukewarm fluids will help to prevent them from freezing or being too cold to drink comfortably.

Plan your route ahead of time. Use a loop course to avoid getting too far away from home in the event something were to go wrong during your activity.

Avoiding frost bite and hypothermia is the most important consideration when preparing for cold weather activities. Make sure all of your skin is covered and carry an extra layer in case the conditions change during your workout.

Originally published: http://www.active.com/fitness/articles

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