Cold Weather Running Tips

Hardcore runners take to the streets through every season and in all types of weather. However, you don’t have to be a dedicated, full-time runner to take up jogging in the cooler months in order to keep fit throughout the winter. Whether you choose a 30 minute jog through town or an extended cross country run, you will boost metabolism, burn calories, and increase energy at a time when people like to hibernate in their homes. Winter can present some challenging elements for runners, so it’s a good idea to take a look at some cold weather running tips to keep runners safe.

Warm Up and Stay Warm

When running in cold weather, it’s important to stay warm until the time you’re ready to hit the pavement. Therefore, stay indoors until it’s time to go so that you don’t lose body heat unnecessarily.

Before getting started with cold weather running, you should spend a few minutes warming up. Running in place and doing some stretching exercises will get the blood moving to the various parts of the body which will help the transition into the run as well as loosen up muscles which will help to avoid injury.

Wear the Right Clothing

Protecting yourself from the harsh winter elements is very important when running in cold weather. Sweat soaked clothing can lead to hypothermia and exposed skin can become chaffed or worse, frostbitten if the wind chills are extreme.

Winter runners should dress in layers. Layered clothing helps to trap body heat within the various areas of the clothing.  Layers can always conveniently be removed and worn around the waist if you get too warm.

Wear snug clothing made of synthetic, sweat-wicking fabric next to your skin. A second layer can be jogging sweatpants and a sweatshirt and the top layer should be both waterproof and wind resistant. If it’s raining or slushy, you might want to wear thick thermal socks or two pairs of regular socks to better protect your feet.

If it’s very cold, apply a sweat-resistant moisturizer or petroleum jelly to any exposed skin (face) and a lip balm. Wear a hat, gloves, scarf and even a face mask in really extreme cold. Always keep in mind that the wind chill factor can severely reduce the actual temperature. When you finish your run, change out of your wet clothing as soon as possible.

Pace Yourself and Adjust Strides

Running in cold weather causes a restriction of blood flow, increasing the chance of cramps and muscle spasms. Reduced blood flow also keeps the muscles from warming up as fast as they normally would in warmer weather. Always  pace yourself and give you body more time to warm up before kicking your run into a higher gear.

Also, if there are adverse elements to contend with (i.e. heavy rain, sleet, ice, or snow), you will want to adjust your stride to a shorter gate in order to better maintain your footing. Serious injury can occur from a fall on icy pavement.

Maintain Your Water Intake

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can skimp on drinking water. Your body is still sweating and requires replenishment. A good gauge for drinking water during cold weather running is drink according to your degree of thirst and no more than 8 oz in a 20 minute period.


If you’re thinking of taking up running this upcoming winter season then keep warm and safe by following these cold weather running tips.

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