39th Podcast

In this episode of the Podcast It's a long road we're going to talk about running in the winter. We will analyze the peculiarities and dangers of the season and mention the precautions we must take to make our training as safe as possible.


Hello my friends,

I used to do a Podcast with tips on running in the summer, the time has come to make one for the winter as well. Each season has its own and needs special attention to make our runs as safe as possible. Running in the winter has its own peculiarities and difficulties and many things in relation to it summer they change a lot. For example, the area we are in plays a big role here, since in some places the winter is particularly heavy and makes it quite difficult, for example, to run in the early hours of the morning, a habit I also have during the summer. In Greece, however, for the most part we are relatively lucky in this part, since the temperatures are milder and not so low, which makes the training sessions and matches even more pleasant.

The days are now noticeably shorter and the run outdoors it is sometimes done with particular difficulty, either because of the ice, or because of the snow or because of the very low temperatures. In fact, there are very few races that anyone can participate in, since the hottest racing months are spring and autumn.

The running in winter this also carries many risks and we must be especially careful and take the corresponding precautions. Winter weather creates different and sometimes extreme challenges for runners and extreme cold and extreme weather are not the best ally for it.

Personally, on weekdays my workouts now move to the afternoon and due to the heavy winter in the area where I live, my runs are necessarily done in gym treadmill. It's not the best option, of course, but it's better than nothing. So while running on the treadmill is admittedly boring, I've found ways to make it pretty interesting too. In general I don't watch TV and I don't have time to watch movies or series. So for me winter and running on the treadmill is now combined with watching various series on some of the platforms out there. So sometimes I can't wait to say when I will do my run to see the next episode of a series or movie that piqued my interest. As a result, time passes very easily.

Also, although the corridor for some is a one-way street and not an option, it also offers many advantages, which I mention below:

It is considered the most popular piece of equipment in a gym, since it is the main piece of equipment used by someone for aerobic exercise and fat burning.
You choose the speed you want, as a result of which you have a constant rhythm always in relation to the heart rate. This is very useful especially for new runners.

The load on the musculoskeletal system is less compared to running outside on asphalt, since it offers better shock absorption.
Running on the treadmill requires less effort because there is no air resistance so the energy expended is less because the ground is moving.

Another advantage of the treadmill is that you can choose the slope you want it to have. This is important when your training contains hills for your strengthening, so you can more easily and immediately be helped to develop your muscle strength.

Most treadmills also have the Intervals function where you set in advance at what intensity you want your interval training to be, so with just the push of a button you can move from a slower pace to a faster one. You set the pace and the corridor seems to think for you!

Because the environment is controlled, it helps you stay focused on training.
Since you are in the gym you can combine it empowerment you with your run.
To make, say, running on the treadmill equivalent to running outside, set the incline of the treadmill to 1%. There have been studies that show that with an incline of 1% you have the same energy expenditure as running outside.
Running on the treadmill you don't have to worry about the weather, the temperature and how uneven the ground is.

But running on the treadmill also carries various risks and you should be a bit more careful and this is mainly due to the fact that the ground is moving. So before you start Make sure you know the operation of the treadmill and more specifically the basic buttons such as incline and decrease speed, start and stop. Also make sure that the safety button that serves to immediately stop the exercise is working. Always do a short 5-minute warm-up by walking before starting the exercise.

In addition, my presence at gym as I said above, an advantage is that it is combined with even more and better exercises to strengthen the lower limbs and the trunk.

But let's also go to outdoor running itself, where for me it is the weekends at my favorite place, the beach of Thessaloniki, and of course nothing can replace outdoor running. Of course, waking up very early in the morning and training by extension is a bit difficult, but again I will have started my run by 7 in the morning at the latest, unlike in the summer when due to the heat I start much earlier.

The main thing in winter is the equipment and the clothes we wear. Again, there is a difference from region to region and it has more to do with how cold it is and if, for example, it has icy roads. In any case, however, we make our assessments and what is recommended is that in extreme weather conditions such as very cold with below 10 degrees, a lot of rain or icy road surface it is better to cancel our training than to find ourselves particularly overworked or injured and by extension later with a long period of abstinence.

Basically and in general, remember that just because it's cold outside, we don't need to dress accordingly or as we would go for a walk. Our clothing must be light and with special equipment we must protect various parts of the body that are more exposed to the cold. Also as a rule we should feel slightly cold but not freezing and our special concern will be to stay warm and dry.

Also an important factor for the run outside in winter is if it is windy so in combination with the low temperature you should take into account the measurement given on various weather sites as "Feeling" or "Actual Feeling". So if the temperature shows 7 degrees and the feeling shows 0, then you should prepare accordingly for zero degrees as well.

If our run starts directly from our home then it is good to have a small warm-up beforehand so that we can warm up and relax our muscles and also increase our general body temperature. If our training starts directly on the road, it would be good if we could still wear a thin jacket with which we can do a little warm-up and take it off as soon as our normal training starts training. Of course, this presupposes that when we finish the warm-up we have to leave our jacket somewhere so that we don't have to carry it with us. 


Too many and heavy clothes do not work and in fact after some time they will make you feel uncomfortable, you will sweat excessively and you will want to stop training, since while you are running, your body heats up. Your running clothes should be functional and breathable to regulate body heat. It is important to feel that the sweat does not freeze on your body. Of course, we exclude cotton fabrics, since they retain sweat, increase the feeling of cold and also the chances of a decrease in temperature. Instead, we choose high-tech synthetic fabrics that do a great job, like Cool Max, Dri-fit and others, as they trap sweat and keep you dry enough, while allowing more air to circulate through the fabric.

A base layer is ideal and of course we are talking about a simple isothermal long sleeve t-shirt and even better if it is lined with fleece. In the market you will now also find new types of isothermics (base layers), with greater elasticity to be worn snugly on the body. If the temperature is even lower another layer such as a thin windproof jacket is a must and does a lot of work. There is no need for exaggeration, since it is one thing to go to the mountains in winter for mountaineering and another to run in the city for example for an hour of training. So we dress light and warm. An isothermic on the upper part of the body with a windproof jacket and on the legs a pair of leggings do a great job. If it's raining again, a good breathable raincoat is equally essential, while if it's particularly cold then instead of a simple leggings you can get leggings with a fleece lining and in the upper part of the body between the windproof and isothermal you can also add a fleece . The secret here is to wear light clothes in different layers to keep the heat between them.

Head and hands warm

The head and hands are the two parts of our body that are generally not covered and are most exposed to the cold. Keeping them warm makes our training even more enjoyable. As for the head, there are very nice road caps that fit perfectly and are the ones I choose. The hood of your windbreaker or raincoat can help too, as do large earmuffs to keep your ears warm. But be careful because if you start your training with a cap and later sweat, you should not take it off under any circumstances because you risk a head cold.

The bandana does a great job since it mainly covers the neck, but also the mouth. In fact, at particularly low temperatures it gives a very good sensation, you feel warm and thus avoid inhaling cold air directly, which is not particularly good and has to do with the lungs.

Gloves are another important choice, I would say the most important of the accessories. Gloves are different from gloves and together with the windproof jacket they are probably the two winter accessories worth investing some extra money in. Anyway, they hardly wear out and you can have them for years. There are thin gloves and thick ones and of course they depend on the temperatures we run. I personally have two pairs, one for reasonable cold and one more for longer.

Shoes and socks

The only thing that doesn't change in the clothes we have to choose while running in the cold is the shoes, unless we go to the snow, where of course the situation changes and there are special shoes for both snow and ice with good grip and protection. I personally have never worn any of these to have an opinion. Some, and depending on where they stay, choose waterproof shoes with Gor-Tex material. Again if you are running outside in the snow be sure you know the route and where you are stepping, while long strides and fast runs are also not needed.

Concerning socks I use a certain brand but different socks in winter and summer. The summer ones of this company are thinner and more comfortable, while the winter ones are a bit thicker and warmer. This company also has intermediates that are ideal for almost all seasons of the year. These socks may cost a little more than the others but believe me they make a difference, they are of excellent quality, extremely durable as if they never break and I have seen them in all the Marathon exhibitions around the world.

At the end of the run, don't forget something equally important. Because the body temperature will drop quite quickly you should have a thick jacket or even better you have combined the end of the training to be done at home so that you don't get cold at all.

The general rule says that we dress for training or a match as if he has +10 points from what he has at the time of training. If, for example, it is 0 degrees outside, then we dress for 10 to 15.

Don't forget, of course, that in the summer we lose fluids as well electrolytes the same happens in the winter and that's why we should be careful in our hydration plan. In the winter we may not lose large amounts of fluids and electrolytes, but still your various body systems depend on an adequate supply of fluids and electrolytes. During exercise, exact and absolute recommendations cannot be given for all exercisers, since there are many factors that can change their fluid needs. The basic characteristics of the exercise such as the type, intensity and duration of it, the temperature and humidity of the environment in which the competition takes place, the different perspiration rate from person to person, as well as the different possibilities of fluid consumption from sport to sport , are the main ones.

Of course, running in the winter has many benefits. For example, we burn more calories, since our body spends more energy to keep warm. You will test yourself in extreme weather conditions and this will make you even stronger both physically and most importantly mentally, because it takes a lot of mental strength to leave your warm house and go out in the cold to run. In winter especially this part of getting out of your comfort zone, getting up from the sofa and going outside is even more difficult, but this moment is what makes you even stronger, strengthens you mentally, gives you more confidence and brings you even closer to realizing your goals.

Above all, our safety comes first and as I said before, winter is very special and needs attention. Slippery roadways pose dangers and nasty injuries, and since we usually run at night you should remember to wear reflective gear and keep the volume of your headphones low or turned off. Even better if you can choose residential and lighted areas. Also a good idea is to run in a stadium in the city where the wind dies down a bit and training becomes easier. If the weather conditions are particularly bad then the best thing to do is to stay home and enjoy a hot cup of coffee. With one less training no one got hurt, especially amateur runners like us who exercise primarily for our good health. 

Regardless of the weather conditions and under normal conditions, running remains a pure pleasure. After a hard workout in the cold or rain, I feel even more alive. Exercising in the fresh air clears my head, relaxes me and helps me face everyday life with more calmness.

Thank you so much for listening to me!

Until next time, be well be healthy and always do what we love and what makes us feel good.

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