Speed Work in Winter
During my last run, my partner wanted to sprint to the finish. While I was all about getting it over with, I wondered if sprinting in the cold, could lead to injury so my research follows:
While endurance running is possible in the cold, speed work is not a good idea for a number of reasons.
- Your muscles need to be warmed up sufficiently before the more intense contractions of speed work. It is not as easy to do that in cold and extremely cold weather, and the ambient temperature will keep lowering the skin temperature.
- Cold air can dry out and irritate your upper airways, which could lead to a burning sensation in the lungs or a hacking cough. The harder you breathe, the greater the damage.
- Wearing bulky coverings is not something that makes you feel like doing speed work and these layers create restrictions to free movement.
- On really cold days, you’re better off doing slow, long distances than speedwork
- If you do run fast, wear a face mask or neck gaiter over your nose and mouth to warm the air you inhale.