Ms. Maekawa’s advice on how to enjoy a winter run and cold protection

A promising 5,000 m runner, Yuki Maekawa appears in this issue talking about how to enjoy running in winter and protect the body in cold weather.

Fri Apr. 26, 2019

Have you ever tried to make excuses not to run in winter? Cold can be a motivation killer and we tend to shy away from running. Today, Yuki Maekawa reveals her tips on how to enjoy a winter run, some key points to bear in mind, and cold protection.

Follow this professional runner’s winter running tips and let's have a fun run, no matter how cold it is outside.

ADVICEProfessional advice on running

Enjoy a winter run in the clear air

It's not very easy to go out in the cold of winter, but it’s generally said that winter running can deliver better performance. Isn’t it nice that we can enjoy running as much as we do in a warm season? Actually, I’m not good at winter running either. I’m better at running in hot weather, so I’m always looking for a way to enjoy running in winter too.

For example, I think that one of the differences between summer and winter is the air; much clearer in winter. This is especially true in the morning. My training course is along a riverbed, and if the weather allows, I can see Mt. Fuji clearly while running, which makes me feel so lucky. Try finding a nice view to chin up and enjoy running in the clear winter air!

Footbaths are a must for winter run

Since everything gets stiff in winter, do stretches properly to relax the muscles and warm up the body before you go for a run. Many runners do stretches longer in winter than summer, and in my case, I also take a footbath to warm up before training. It’s enough to warm the ankles. You put your feet in a hot footbath until your body warms up. I’m sure you will find yourself feeling much easier to run.

Plus, don't forget to wash your hands and gargle thoroughly after running. It’s also recommended that you change your clothes before cool-down stretches, otherwise your body gets cold from sweaty clothes and you may lose your condition. Furthermore, it’s good to wear a mask to keep moisture during a run, which is another tip for running in winter.

Cover your body, especially the neck, wrists and ankles

The biggest difference between summer and winter running is the outfits, isn’t it? As I’m not good at cold weather, I always protect my whole body, wearing a knit cap that covers up to the ears, a short neck warmer, and running gloves, etc., trying not to expose a single part of the body. I layer a warm, thin, long-sleeved T-shirt over a short-sleeve one and a thick windbreaker on top. I feel more comfortable running in long slim pants than those with a wide hem. A thin down jacket is very useful too. It’s perfect because it’s warm and light, allowing maximum body movement.

The important point in cold protection is to protect the neck, wrists and ankles. Cover your neck with a neck warmer, your wrists with gloves and your ankles with long socks. These will do for cold protection.

However, when it comes to a race, we have to run in uniform, exposing the arms and legs. At those times I recommend applying hot cream on exposed areas. And if you also wear arm warmers, you can run without feeling cold.

Let's go running in winter! If you’re thinking about it, here are some "tips on winter running."


Enjoy a winter run with good cold prevention and protection from dryness

In winter when humidity and temperatures are low, you can run more comfortably than summer even if you run a long distance, because there’s less strain on the body. Thus, many tournaments are held in winter.That said, while it’s easy to run in terms of climate, we must take good measures against illness such as catching cold, and skin dryness.

Handwash and gargling is the first step toward infection prevention

"When you come home, wash your hands and gargle." We were told so many times at school and home when we were a child, weren’t we? Infections are often caused by viruses on the hands entering the body through mucous membranes such as the mouth, nose and eyes. So, make a habit of washing your hands using soap when you come back from outside.

"Handwash and gargle." It’s the most basic of the basics but still the first step to prevent illness and enjoy running.

Prevent colds with foods that boost immunity

It’s known that a healthy intestinal environment works effectively for beauty and a healthy body and brain. The intestine is an organ that digests and absorbs nutrients taken into the body. If you fully absorb the proteins, you will be able to improve your running effectively, as runners especially need proteins.

Good bacteria such as lactic acid bacteria are essential to keeping a healthy intestinal environment. In addition to actively consuming yogurt, natto, and kimchi, you can take supplements as well.

It’s also known that when the intestines are under stress, not only motor functions but the brain is affected, too. Maintaining good bacteria in the intestines and good physical and mental conditions will have a positive effect on running, too.


Shiseido Running Club

Ms. Maekawa was not originally a track and field club member, but after finishing well in an Ekiden race, from high school she started to focus on running. She was runner-up in the All Japan University Women's Ekiden and joined Shiseido in 2017. She enjoys reading manga, and her favorite magazine is WEEKLY JUMP, enjoying the digital version these days. After suffering repeated injuries until last year, in 2018, she set a goal to "continue." This year, she aims to beat the standard time of the All-Japan Women's Corporate Ekiden Championship. She is the third of four sisters.