This article is very pertinent to anyone involved in the #Spartan30 Mile A Day Challenge. Join in here.

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by Anthony Adragna

Although the temperatures might not being quite as agreeable as they probably could be right now, running during the wintertime and maintaining your training regiment can be safe, provided you take the proper precautions. A February 2009 article in Runner’s World looks at how you can run safely in the cold.

In the extreme cold, the biggest risks runners face are hypothermia and frostbite. Taking a few precautions can ensure your safety and the enjoyment of your run.

1) Wear the Proper Clothing: This seems obvious, but is too often overlooked.  Sweat and precipitation greatly increase your risk for hypothermia. Wearing clothing that acts as a shield to water and wind will decrease the risks. Keep in mind that when you run more slowly your body cannot generate as much heat, which also increases your susceptibility to hypothermia.  Taking off layers is fine, but be prepared to put them on again if the weather worsens.

2) Protect Your Skin: Experts think the risk for frostbite is low, as long as you are dry and continually moving. Hats and face masks will keep your skin shielded from the extreme cold. The use of balm to prevent windburn will not protect you from frostbite, though.  The article also suggests investing in gaiters to keep snow out of your boots.

3) Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard: The cold air can irritate your upper airways, and cause a cough or burning sensation in your lungs. Kenneth Rundell, Ph.D., director of respiratory research and the human physiology laboratory at Marywood University suggests “doing slow, long distances [rather] than speedwork” on cold days.

4) Look For Sheltered Routes: There’s no point in putting yourself in danger for no reason. Look for wooded areas, avoid areas of cities with large buildings (that act as wind tunnels) and run on the exposed side of the street to maximize exposure to sunlight.

We had races this year that tested competitors in cooler conditions, to put it mildly. The weather at the Malibu Sprint and Texas Beast recently made many people suffer who were under prepared. Don’t let that be you!

The cold weather at the 2013 Texas Beast tested many people.

With these tips in mind, get out there and run!

See you at the next Spartan Race

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