A blog by runners. For runners.

How to warm up after a cold run

How to warm up after a cold runWe know a lot of you are hardcore runners. The cold, wind, sleet, or snow won’t stop many of you from running outside.

Nor should it. Contrary to what your mom may have said, spending time out in cold will not give you a cold. The common cold is caused by a virus, just like the flu and many other illnesses. People catch more colds during the winter months because we spend more times indoors, passing germs back and forth to one another. Because of that, many of us have the common cold lurking in our bodies. And once our immune systems become compromised, the cold virus can flare up and attack.

Guess what weakens our immune systems? If you said exposure to cold temperatures – like running on a damp winter day – you’d be right.

Now this doesn’t mean you have to run for the treadmill. One thing we can do to combat the effects of running in winter weather is to warm up quickly after a workout. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Dress the part. It’s easier to warm up after a run if you don’t get too chilled during it. Wear gear that keeps you warm and dry by blocking wind and wicking moisture away from your skin.
  2. Get inside stat. When running, the air temperature feels about 15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it really is. So, you may feel pretty comfortable running in 25 degrees Fahrenheit, but as soon as you stop, you’ll likely start shivering – especially since you’ll be wet from sweat. A chill can linger all day so it’s best to minimize time spent outdoors after your run. If possible, run until you reach to your doorstep and cool down once you’re inside.
  3. Remove your wet running clothes immediately. As soon as you step foot inside, shed your wet clothes and change into warm, dry clothing and socks. Leaving your wet clothes on will only cause you to become colder.
  4. Keep moving. Once indoors (and in warm clothes), walk around or stretch to keep your muscles warm.
  5. Take a shower. A warm shower feels wonderful after a cold run. Shower soon after finishing your run so you can warm up more quickly. Stay in the shower long enough so that you feel warmer – we probably don’t have to convince you too hard to do that! If you have long or thick hair, use a hairdryer afterwards so you’re not walking around with wet hair.
  6. Dress in warm clothes, including footwear. Get dressed in a long sleeve top, pants, and some type of warm footwear, like slippers, so you stay warm.
  7. Warm up from the inside out. Even if you follow all of these tips, you may still feel chilled if you ran far on an especially cold day. In that case, warm up from the inside out by drinking hot liquid. Hot broth is a great option because it also contains salt, which will replenish lost electrolytes. Of course, any other soup or hot beverage, like hot cocoa, will do the trick, too. Continue to sip on warm liquids for the rest of the day until you warm up.