Tips for Running in the Cold

Tips for Running in the Cold

If you love running, and it’s winter, you’ve probably thought about going for a run in the cold weather. Taking a winter run can be challenging, ice, howling winds, freezing cold temperatures and snow & rain showers that limit visibility are just a few of the challenges winter dishes out. Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you get the most out of your cold weather run.

Make Yourself Visible

Reduced daylight hours, blowing snow or rain, and tall snowbanks make it difficult for drivers to see runners. Make yourself visible by donning reflective gear. Take along a flashlight to spot ice and alert drivers of your presence. Or wear a headlamp for added hands-free illumination.

Warm up Before Your Run

Get the blood pumping throughout your body by performing some light calisthenics. You don’t have to warm up to the point that you break a sweat, yet you should get your heart pumping before pushing it to the max on your run. Warm up by jumping rope or going up and down your home’s stairs a few times. Once your body temperature increases, the frigid outdoor air won’t feel so harsh.

Time of Day

One of the biggest winter running challenges is the lack of light. Winter’s early sundowns and generally overcast skies make it quite difficult to enjoy a run with any sort of sunlight. Do your best to run in the morning or early afternoon when there is light and the temperatures are comparatively warm.

Mind the Wind

A winter day/night can feel brutally cold if there are strong winds. These winds have the potential to ruin your outdoor run. Don’t run into a strong headwind for your entire run. Start out facing the headwind to burn as many calories as possible. As you tire toward the end of your run, finish with the wind at your back. Be sure to wear cold weather protection like a ski mask, scarf, winter hat, a thick winter coat, and gloves. You may want to apply vaseline to the skin that’s exposed.

Make a Promise to Yourself

Before you head on out of the door for a winter run, promise yourself that you’ll quickly return to the warmth of your home if the outdoor conditions are too harsh. This simple little promise will motivate you to complete a run in its entirety as you won’t feel any self-blame if an abbreviated session is necessary.

Don’t Worry About Your Speed

If you try to run at your usual fast pace on the slick winter roads or sidewalks, you’re asking for trouble. One fall can wreak havoc on your life. Focus on maintenance miles rather than speed.

Change Your Clothes Immediately After the Run

Once you complete your run, your body temperature will decrease quickly. This drop can cause a chill if you’re still wearing your sweat-soaked running gear. Get out of those clothes as quickly as possible once you’ve completed your run. Grab something warm to drink, take a shower and relax.

Image courtesy of