I have been running on and off for 8 years now and I have found that I love to run in the winter! There is something so special and cool about running under snow-covered trees and being able to see my breath. It also doesn’t hurt that I don’t come home a sweaty mess – stinky, yes but sweaty, no. Unless I’m overdressed.
But running the winter poses its own challenges. Because of that, I’ve created a short guide with all of my cold weather running tips. I have also linked some of my favorite cold weather running gear!
1. Layers, layers, and more layers!
Layering is key in the winter. In the summer, all you need is a pair of shorts and a tank but in the winter you – obviously – need so much more. It’s important to keep your core, your extremities, and your head warm when you’re running in the winter. If not, you’ll have a hard time getting – and staying – warm during and after your run.
When it comes to your legs, typically a thin pair of tights will suffice if the temps are above freezing and a thicker pair (like these fleece-lined tights from lulu) will do when it’s any colder. In my opinion, if you’re still cold in a thick pair of tights, you should run indoors.
But when it comes to your core and arms, we can layer up a bit more since there’s a little less meat up there! You’ll want to start with a thinner base layer like a tank top and then add on from there.
When it’s too cold for short sleeves, I prefer to go with a DryFit long sleeve like this basic tee or half-zip top from Nike. As it gets colder though (think: sub 30F), I might add an additional layer such as the classic Under Armour mock neck. And then when you reach those single-digit temps, it’s time to throw on another layer! Instead of spending a ton of money on smart wool or whatever it is, I just add a sweatshirt I already own on top of what I’m already wearing.
As for keeping the extremities warm, I rely heavily on a mixture of lululemon and Nike gear I’ve been gifted over the years. I have a neck warmer from lulu that I’ll throw on for particularly windy days. The neck warmer is great because I can use it as a pseudo balaclava without looking like a serial killer, you know?
I just picked up these Nike quilted running gloves after losing my favorite running gloves. But you know what? My new gloves have touch-screen capabilities so, winning? As for head gear, I opt for a headband because I still tend to run warmer so having my whole head covered is a no-go for me!
Stay inside 😉
2. Light it up up up, light it up up up, light it up up up, I’M ON FIYAAA
The worst part about winter is all of the darkness. It’s dark when most of us drive to work and dark again when we’re driving home. I will always recommend going for a lunch time run but that’s not always possible. In order to stay safe in the dark, you need to light yourself up!
I will always recommend a head lamp so cars can see you, you can see them, and you can see what’s going on right in front of you.
If you opt to not run with a headlamp, that’s fine. Just make sure other cars and people can see you by wearing a reflective vest or smaller clip-on lights.
Even though it’s cold outside, it’s important to perform a cool down after your workout. Instead of doing your cool down outside, take it inside with a short yoga flow. And instead of rehydrating with a cold glass of water, drink some room temperature water instead.
When you’re cold and trying to get warmer, it’s important that you don’t warm up the body too fast. Taking your body from one extreme to the next can cause you to go into shock and you’ll have more issues than being cold. Start by taking off any wet (sweaty) layers and replacing with dry clothes, sipping on warm water. After you’ve adjusted a bit, you can take a warm – but not hot! – shower.
4. Other Random Sh*t
I don’t personally run when it’s icy out but if you plan to, you should grab a set of YakTrax. YakTrax are like, a traction device that you put on the bottom of your shoes to prevent you from slipping! If I’m going to be outside for a while, I’ll slip some hand-warmers in my gloves to keep the ends of my fingers from turning blue.
Running in cold weather isn’t much different than running when it’s a bit warmer out. If you’re looking for how to run safely, check out My Top 10 Running Safety Tips blog post!
What cold weather running tips do you have?! Share them below!