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By Jennifer Kelly Geddes for Discover and Play

Whether you’re keeping your New Year’s resolution to get fit or simply continuing a healthy workout routine, running in cold weather can be a challenge. Lacing up when the temperature dips takes determination — and some good advice for braving the elements. Before dashing out the door, consider the following winter running tips:

Pregame: Warming up your muscles is even more important in winter than in nicer weather, so don’t skip this step. Be sure to take the time to run in place inside your house, do a few downward dogs or perform jumping jacks. Prepping your body ahead of time will help you feel less cold when you head out to run.

Wicked Wind: A blast of arctic air can send even the most resolute runner scurrying home. To protect yourself from the wind, slather on lip balm, cover fragile skin with a light layer of Vaseline and wear a facemask. And when you start, head into the wind first and then finish with it behind you so it doesn’t blow right in your face after you’ve begun to sweat.

Ice, Ice Baby: Slippery patches are a runner’s worst nightmare, so take extra caution in these conditions. You might consider grips for the bottoms of your sneakers for better leverage, or you could shorten your stride for improved footing. Also, choose the clearest path possible, like a well-shoveled sidewalk rather than a snowy park path.

Drink Up: It may be the last thing you think of when it’s cold out, but downing H2O is critical during winter. It’s easy to become dehydrated this time of year because sweat dries quickly and you may not feel as warm. Pack a small bottle and take sips if your run is longer than 45 minutes.

Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York-based writer and editor who has written for Parenting, iVillage.com and Time Out New York Kids. She frequently contributes to Go Vibrant.

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