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NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar offers her advice on the best winter running practices.
Is it true you’re more susceptible to injury in the winter due to the weather?
There are several factors in cold weather that can make us more susceptible to injury. Most of these are related to the body not regularly operating at a comfortably warm temperature while running. The idea is for you to feel warm but not too hot. You want to avoid getting sweaty to the point that you have wet fabric keeping your muscles cold. Look for high-quality running clothes made from fabric that blends Lycra and polyester that will help wick away the sweat, keeping your muscles warm in spite of the cold temperatures. Proper warm-ups and cool-downs will also help prevent cramping and strains as your muscles will smoothly transition from stiff and cold to warm—and back—without too much tightness. Look to spend more time stretching in the morning and evening, as naturally you will feel tighter then, even just from regular daily activities. This time of year we are also prone to getting sick, which can impact our training. Take your time easing back into your running routine if you have been sidelined with a cold or the flu. Your body already feels weak, and you want to make sure you have regained your strength before you start the stress of hard workouts again. Stay patient—winter won’t last forever!