Charlotte runners: learn how to warm up when it cools down from the experts at OrthoCarolina

Charlotte runners: learn how to warm up when it cools down from the experts at OrthoCarolina
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This content was created in partnership with OrthoCarolina.


If you’re a runner, its always a good idea to warm up before a run.

But as we head into the winter, “it’s definitely important to spend a little more time with the warm-up,” said Chris Gabriel, OCS, CSCS at OrthoCarolina.

OrthoCarolina’s Sports Training Center

We caught up with him at OrthoCarolina’s super cool Sports Training Center to learn how runners, who don’t plan on hibernating all winter, can stay healthy.

Here are some pre- and post-run routines, along with a few easy warm-up moves to get the blood flowing.


Cold weather pre-run routine

Before you head out for a frigid run, here are a few ways to set yourself up to avoid injury, overheating, or generally freezing your butt off.

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Dress for the weather
Even though Charlotte winters are pretty mild, it can still get pretty chilly. Gabriel recommends dressing about 15-20 degrees warmer than it actually is outside to compensate for the rise in your body temp while you run. Layers are key so you can shed them as you start to sweat.

As for material, dry fit or merino wool are your best bet to fend off mid-run clamminess. If you’re worried about losing your footing on slick sidewalks (thanks to piles of wet leaves), trail shoes can be an easy-to-find option with better traction than standard running shoes.

Avoid injury by warming up

According to Gabriel, when it’s cold out, our bodies pull blood flow from our extremities to protect our core, which decreases muscle force output and increases the risk of injury to the achilles and other tendons.

Even though the idea of tacking on an extra 5-10 minutes to that early morning run isn’t always appealing, it’s extra important in the winter to make sure you’re properly warmed up.


Here’s a quick, dynamic warm-up routine you can do before a run.

If it’s super cold out, you can warm up inside. But if it’s reasonable, it’s best to warm up in the environment you’ll be running in. If you break a sweat during this, take off some layers before you start running.

Move 1: Skip

Keep your elbows at 90 degrees and strike with your midfoot to keep a light impact on the ground.

Move 2: Side Shuffle

Stay light on your feet and don’t let your feet get too close together. 

Move 3: Karaoke

Relax your shoulders while you rotate your hips side to side. Don’t overthink it.

Move 4: In/Out Hip Flips

Touch your heel to the the opposite hand for an external hip rotation. For a more advanced version, do this with a skip.

Move 5: Out/In Hip Flips

Keep the knees together and rotate your ankle out while you maintain an upright posture.

Move 5: Backwards Lunge with Overhead Reach

Work out your quad and hip flexor mobility while getting some bonus balance work in, too. 


Cold weather post-run routine

Warm up slowly
Resist the temptation to immediately bury yourself in blankets as soon as you get home from a chilly run. “Even though you’re super cold, you don’t want to warm up too fast,” said Chris. And if you think you’re at risk for frostbite, be careful not to rub your skin.

Get some post-run recovery fuel
Once you’ve changed your clothes, gradually warm yourself up with some warm liquids like bone or chicken broth. And don’t forget to drink water; even if you don’t feel like you sweat as much in the winter, your body needs the hydration just as much.

Take time to stretch out
Instead of camping out on the couch for the rest of the day, break out the foam roller and spend some time boosting your recovery.


For more training tips and free workouts (no matter the weather), check out OrthoCarolina’s blog.

(This content was created in partnership with OrthoCarolina.)

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