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How winter running can boost endurance and reduce risk of injury — and get you ready for spring

Click to play video: 'Winter running: boost endurance and lower injury risk' Winter running: boost endurance and lower injury risk
WATCH: Experts say winter workouts can help you run faster and longer come spring, but they recommend taking some precautions before lacing up and heading out the door. Tiffany Lizée explains – Jan 3, 2020

Winter workouts can help you run faster and longer when spring comes, experts say.

Dr. Reed Ferber is the director of the Running Injury Clinic in Calgary and has done extensive research on the biomechanics of winter running.

He’s found people automatically change the way they run outdoors when it’s icy.

“We’re all going to run with our feet a little wider apart, we’re all going to take slightly shorter steps, [and] we’re all going to bounce up and down a little bit less and that’s enough to keep us from slipping on ice,” he said.

Good running shoes can help prevent slipping and injuries, but because we already adjust to the conditions, Ferber said, we don’t necessarily need to go out and buy a new pair.

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Proper clothing and layers, however, are important to stay warm and avoid injuries.

READ MORE: Winter running — not as tough as you think

“You should make sure you have some gloves — heavy but not too heavy — and a nice light toque,” said Stephanie Symington with Run Calgary.

“Then for your base layer, it’s best to have merino wool.”

Wearing the proper layers while you run in the cold will help moderate your body temperature. Getty Images

Ferber adds you should also have something covering your mouth to help warm the air as you’re breathing.

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“If you start breathing heavier in cold air, that can actually damage your lungs,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Fit Tips with Chris Tse: How to safely exercise outside in the winter' Fit Tips with Chris Tse: How to safely exercise outside in the winter
Fit Tips with Chris Tse: How to safely exercise outside in the winter – Dec 4, 2019

Warming up and getting your blood flowing before sprinting off is also an important step to take to avoid muscle and lung injuries.

Dr. Reed Ferber says having something overtop of your mouth will help protect your lungs by warming the air as you breath it in and out. Submitted by Roger Morcilla / Global News

So if you’re ready to boost your outdoor mileage but lack the motivation, setting a goal for springtime might do the trick, Symington said.

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READ MORE: Tips for avoiding injuries when running during winter

“Maybe signing up for a spring race and maybe get a training plan together —those are the types of goals that will keep you running throughout the winter,” she said.

Run Calgary offers winter running tips to stay warm and safe.
Run Calgary offers winter running tips to stay warm and safe. Calgary Marathon/Facebook

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