Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Minimalist Running Tips

Just because you're a minimalist runner doesn't mean you have to stop running in the winter. You're probably wondering all kinds of questions- How do I run barefoot  in the winter? Will my Vibrams go out in the snow, ice, or freezing rain? How do you keep up your normal mileage in the winter?
Here are some tips in continuing your running routine during the cold winter months:

  1. The shoes you have already are probably fine. Your body will take time to adapt to the colder weather. Just like in the spring when the temperature goes up to 50 degrees, you'll be wearing shorts, your feet will need time to adapt to the colder temperatures. Typically, those who are outside runners will take one to two weeks to get comfortable. Serious minimalist runners have been able to run in temperatures as low as -20 degrees wearing nothing but their Vibrams and Injinji socks. Instead of investing in a new pair of shoes, purchase a heavier pair of socks.
  2. Expose your feet to the cold. The more you expose your feet to the cold weather, the faster your body will adapt. Go outside often with as little on your feet as possible. As soon as your feet start to feel numb, head back inside. 
  3. Keep your core warm. When you start running, your feet will be very cold. After 10 minutes, you will have warmed up and they may get cold again, but not for long. This is known as Cold Induced Vascodilation (CIV), a phenomenon when your body tries to warm your core before your extremities. If your core is cold, it will not send much blood to your feet. However, if your core is warm, your body will send more blood to your feet. To prevent CIV, dress warmer in your core than you think you need to. 
  4. Warm your feet up before going out. Some options of warming up your feet include: standing in front of the heater a few minutes before going out, jogging around the house for a bit and work up a sweat, leave the house with more layers on than you think and take them off into your run, and wear shoes for the first 10 minutes of your run if you're going barefoot.
  5. Be more careful. Numb feet aren't going to help you feel the ground or chunks of ice you may step on. You're also not going to feel your form starting to slip, and you're susceptible to blisters, cuts, and abrasions. When the temperatures get down to below the 30's your feet become useless blobs at the end of your legs. Since your feet are numb, you'll have to use your other senses. Watch where you are running and stop frequently to check for cuts or blisters. 
If you are a runner and have a foot problem, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Medicine Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington
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