What To Know Before Running Outside

Nutrition and Physical Activity (such as running) are two important ways you can boost your immune system at a time when it’s never been more important to care for your body. Not everyone is a runner, but you shouldn’t neglect cardiovascular health. Going outside is one way you can find enjoyment in running, especially if you have been working inside all day. Find out what to know before running outside so that you can have the best experience possible. Like any exercise program, remember to stress your body carefully and allow time to rest. Too much activity, such as excessive, repeated and prolonged long-distance running, not only puts you at risk of musculoskeletal injuries, but can actually cause a decline in the effectiveness of your immune system.

Dress Appropriately

Weather is a significant factor when running outside. The first thing you need to know before running outside is the current conditions and the weather forecast so that you can determine if it’s safe to do so. Check the radar for rain or storms. Evaluate the temperature and the wind. If it’s windy, you might want choose a route in a neighborhood with homes that can block some of the wind instead of an open lake shoreline where winds might make your run uncomfortable. Pay attention to the angle of the sun, and how this might affect your visibility to motorists. This is especially important in fall, winter, and spring when the sun is positioned lower in the sky. Then, dress appropriately for the weather, but keep in mind that your body will warm up once you break a sweat. The right clothing will keep you more comfortable. Wicking clothing from Under Armor is a much better option than wearing a wet cotton T-shirt soaked by accumulating sweat. If you’re planning a long run, consider temperature changes that might occur during the run. In the morning, you might face much higher temperatures at the end of the of the route. At sunset you might experience falling temperatures with sweat-soaked clothing and an uncomfortable chill. There are studies that show a chill may cause an increase chance of infection with the common cold. There is also at least one study that shows there is no effect of being chilled and catching the common cold. The answer may be that some people may be vulnerable to being chilled, and some may not. The chance of catching the common cold (or Coronavirus COVID-19 for that matter) might also depend on a combination of factors, including physiological characteristics, nutritional status, existence of other physical conditions or illnesses, and state of the immune system (which can be affected by prolonged overtraining). Running in cold weather might get you sick, but probably in combination with other factors. Many people exert themselves enough during running that their running metabolism generates enough heat to keep them entirely comfortable.

Choose Your Route

Choosing to run outside leaves you with plenty of options when it comes to terrain and scenery. You can go to a local park, run around a track, or use the road. Each of these options will also present a different experience. Try a bunch of different routes as you start running, and choose the one that works best for you and your body—or rotate between all your options to keep it fresh. Beware of potholes and hidden holes in lawns or unpaved surfaces. Strictly avoid areas with heavy traffic with associated air pollution from vehicle exhaust and braking (brake dust) and the risk of getting hit and killed.

Run Against Traffic

If you do decide to run in the street, you must be careful and stay alert. When you’re sharing the road with cars, the best way to avoid getting hit is to run against traffic, and only where there is an escape route. For example, don’t run along a guard rail next to a cliff, or a solid cement wall. Your choice is getting smashed against the guard rail or solid cement wall or jumping off of a cliff. You want to be able to quickly and safely move out of the way in case a vehicle crosses into your path. It doesn’t take very high speed hit by a massive vehicle to cause death or serious trauma. Pay attention to oncoming drivers. Are they weaving slightly? If they are, they’re probably texting, if they’re not intoxicated. As the driver gets closer you will probably see them texting. It’s important to avoid running on any busy streets. With today’s distracted drivers, the risk of getting hit is too high.

Download a Running App

The benefit of running on a treadmill is that it will allow you to track your time, pace, and distance. To track these metrics when you are running outside, download a running app on your smartphone. Most of these apps are free, and all you must do is start the app before you run. A running app can serve as a great guide during your workout and allow you to track your progress over time.

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