Muscles and tendons tighten up in the cold, which can lead to strain, stress and injury. Try a brisk 5-15 minute walk before hitting your stride. Even better, a hot shower followed by a bit of stretching can really loosen things up, and get the blood flowing.
When running in icy conditions, shorten your stride length. You can increase your cadence (leg speed) if needed, but the shorter stride will help prevent slipping, or muscle strains caused by excessive instability when striking the ground.
When running in the cold dress as if it’s 5-10 degrees warmer than it really is outside. Doing this allows your body temperature to increase and helps prevent overheating and sweating too much. Avoid cotton clothing, including t-shirts and socks. Cotton absorbs the moisture, becoming wet and then cold.
It’s harder to make the “if only it were warmer” excuse when you’re accountable to someone.
If it’s too icy or it’s decided to snow, then why not use the treadmill. We’ve had a number of patients base their entire program on treadmill training, and while I still think the real thing is best, the treadmill isn’t a poor distant cousin.
The most important thing is to keep your system loaded through winter. Your tendons will love you, and you are far less likely to get injured.