Does the temperature have any bearing on whether/how to prepare for workouts or runs?
In the winter months, I recommend spending that little longer warming up and easing into your run. Injury risk increases when you go straight into a workout without preparation.
A 10 minute warm up is sufficient enough and will get the blood pumping to those muscles, as your body starts to generate heat the connective tissue around your joints will be able to tolerate the workout a lot better. Once your body is warm, I recommend stretching out any specific tight spots you may have before you begin your run. The best way to discover these discrepancies in the body is from warming up. Staying on top of those tight areas will help you be in tune with how your body responds to the strength and conditioning you are applying to it
Even though it is cold, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to drink as much water as you would need to on a summer’s day.
Make sure you monitor your water intake the same way you would in those warmer seasons.
Appropriate clothing is a must. We are lucky that our climate in winter is fairly mild. However, a lot of heat can escape from our hands, feet and head. So you might need to have a look at your running wardrobe and update a few items.
Are there other seasonal hazards related to typical workout types in winter?
Your winter workout surface can most certainly be a potential contributor to injury. Unstable, slippery or hard surfaces can increase the risk of developing injuries such as, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and Achilles tendinopathies.
To avoid such injuries you may want to slightly adjust your expectations for speed and time, aim to run on days where the surfaces aren’t slippery from rain or dew, mix up your surface between the path and grass. And importantly ensure your cooldown is specific to your activity, for example in running a plantar fascia release with a firm tennis ball or lacrosse ball can help you stay on top reactive tightness development
Another surface that tends to get forgotten is the good ol’ treadmill. This is a popular choice for gym goers who still would like to do their running training when the weather isn’t cooperating.
When you think about it, the treadmill belt helps you run. It makes the running gait a little easier by assisting your hip extension (pulling your leg back). In turn, your glutes don’t get their regular workout they would on your favourite running track.
It is important to keep in the back of your mind if you have had to do a little more treadmill running training that usual, spend more time focusing on some isolated glute strengthening exercises like lunges, clams and sidelying hip abduction exercises. This will help prevent the stain on the knee when it is a sunny day and you hit the running track again after prolonged treadmill training.
Or maybe it’s a good time to spend time indoors fixing technique that may over time lead to injury.
I highly recommend including an indoor strengthening and stability regime to your running schedule that involves focusing on your gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and your core.
In practice, I see that there can be a common reason why athletes get injured. They neglect the rule of the Terrible Toos.
TOO MUCH – TOO FAST – TOO SOON
If you push yourself in these three, you will get injured. Simple
This can be especially relevant in the winter months as your body is working extra hard anyway to deal with the weather and any changes in the terrain.
Follow the 48 hour rule. Don’t ignore a niggle if it is lingering on for longer than 2 days
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal part of increasing our exercise regime and I think it is a nice friendly reminder that we are doing good for our body. However if you have pain or discomfort that doesn’t fall under the category of “good sore” then it is time to get help. If gentle stretching, adequate warm up/cool down, use of a foam roller (Figure 1) and rest don’t help it is vital to see a physiotherapist that has experience working with athletes and getting them back in their runners.
Image Source: Runner’s Goal
About the Author
Jennifer Dodge received her Bachelor of Physiotherapy from The University of Newcastle. Her combined interest in sports medicine and occupational health has enhanced her practice in the clinical setting, with elite athletes and contributed to the success of her business The Office Athlete. Jennifer is registered with AHPRA and HAAD, practicing in both Australia and The United Arab Emirates.
The featured image from this article was supplied by Runners World