Running is an excellent habit to get into for your health. Once you’ve got the hang of it, the activity can clear your mind and settle your soul. After a nice long run, suddenly your problems don’t seem too big anymore. This being said, if you find yourself without the proper gear and attire, a nice long run can turn into an extremely uncomfortable escapade. The following will aim to help you avoid the latter situation.
Know Where You’re Running
This first point will apply to everyone differently but is particularly important for folks running outside. Make sure that you know what temperature, terrain, and moisture levels you can expect. If it’s frigid and snowy, you might want a thicker jacket (and some ice cleats to attach to your shoes if it’s slippery). If it’s going to rain, you might want something waterproof. If it’s unbelievably hot, you’re going to want to keep your clothes light. If it’s so sunny and you’re going to burn, add a hat. You get the idea. Include weather-appropriate layers in addition to all of the below information.
The Right Running Shoes
Running shoes might seem like all they do is protect your feet from a hard surface, but the truth is, they’re doing a lot more work than you know. Foremost, you’re looking for shoes that aren’t going to wear out too quickly—if you’re often running, your shoes need to be a bit tougher than standard shoes. Second, you want to think about the type of support you need. This is going to vary depending on how high the arches are in your feet and any back, hip, knee, or ankle problems you have. If you’re unsure what the right shoes are for you, you can always speak to a doctor who will outline some good options and maybe even recommend some insoles specifically for your gait and frame.
If you’re running somewhere where it’s often puddled or wet, you might want to look into waterproof running shoes or socks (yes, they exist). As well, if your run is taking you through rough terrains like a forest or field where rocks and roots are waiting to trip you up at every turn, you want to look for shoes with good ankle support. It’s easy to twist an ankle on uneven terrain.
Don’t Bring Anything Loose
You’d think this point would go without saying, but for some reason, it doesn’t. Things that are loose, like wraps, shawls, and scarves, are dangerous to have on while running (especially if they’re around your throat). It’s too easy for them to get caught on something as you run past, resulting in a clothesline-style wipe out. Be safe; leave the loose items at home.
When running, you don’t want to be limiting blood flow. When you breathe in and fill your blood with oxygen, it needs to be able to travel to all your muscles to help keep them thriving as you put them under strain. Any clothing that results in deep imprints in your skin, especially around the knee area, should be avoided. These marks mean that blood flow was slowed. This doesn’t mean your running attire can’t be form-fitting, it only means that they can’t be too tight. If you take a look at the point above, you’ll understand why clothes shouldn’t be too loose either. AthleticJoggers.com has some good examples of this sweet spot between tight and loose. If you have sensitive skin, it’s also important that you pick clothing made from a material that doesn’t irritate your skin. Because you might be sweating and clothing might be rubbing against your skin, there’s a greater risk of dry or raw skin, especially if you’re running long distances.
If you live somewhere where the weather is hilariously unpredictable, your best bet is to dress in light layers. This way, you can take off an outer layer (let’s say a jacket that you can tie around your waist) and keep going without suffering too much.
The above tips should help you get yourself ready for a run, no matter the weather or terrain. Of course, it’s important to know your limits. Just because you’re dressed for the cold doesn’t mean there isn’t a point where it’s a bit dangerous to be out and running. If you don’t protect your health and safety from extreme or unusual weather, you run the risk of getting sick or injured. And then you won’t be running for quite a while. It’s better to miss one day because of a hail storm than miss the next three weeks because you slipped on the ice or whacked your head off a tree branch.