Cold Weather Running Tips

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Nov 04

Does the cold weather make you feel miserable?  How about running outside?  It can be absolutely miserable but it can also be awesome, if you’re properly prepared!  Today I’m sharing Cold Weather Running Tips! 

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Tips for Running in the Cold:

Reality is starting to sink in:  It’s getting cold!!  But just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to stay tethered to the treadmill.  As long as you dress properly and take the precautions to stay safe, you can still have great workouts out on the road and the trail!

Personally, I prefer running in colder weather.  When it’s hot in my neck of the woods of Philly, it gets REALLY hot, and that can really sap your energy.  I tend to warm up very easily, so I’m never too concerned about being cold during a winter run.  But at the same time there are certain items that are must-have when the temperatures drop!

Dress Correctly For Cold Weather Running:

Don’t Wear Cotton!

I think most people who run and workout outdoors know that a nice hat/earmuffs, pair of gloves, and maybe a neck warmer/scarf help protect the extremities from the harsh, cold air.  But what type of fabrics do you use?

I am a member of the “Anti-Cotton Club”.  When I run, I solely wear synthetic, technical fabric.  These fabrics are great because they are moisture-wicking, pulling the sweat away from the body, which is necessary for someone who sweats as much as I do!  If you wear cotton during a workout, all of the moisture stays soaked in the clothing and weighs you down.  This is even worse in the winter, because you’ll end up feeling much colder.

Performance fabrics may be a bit pricier, but you can find great deals at Target, Marshall’s/TJ Maxx, and look for flash sales online at, National Running Center, and other similar sites.  If you have to buy a couple of pieces at a time to build your collection slowly, do it!

A jacket like this is great for running!

Don’t Wear Too Many Layers!

It's all about balance!

It’s all about balance!

When it comes to layering clothing, which is super important in the cold, it’s so easy to overdo it.  You don’t need 2 hats, five pairs of gloves, and 3 pairs of socks on a 30 degree day!  If you wear too many layers, you’re more likely to shorten your run because you’re so uncomfortable!

Look into investing in wool socks, quality materials (again, say no to cotton!), and remember, just like you don’t want to overdress in the summer, you don’t want to do the same in the winter!  I always try to dress 10-20 degrees warmer than the temperature outside because I know I warm up within the first mile! If you’re doing a long run in the cold, you’ll probably need less gear than you would for a short run.  Trust me on this!

Here’s a great link on Runner’s World that shows you how to choose what to wear on any given run!

You may also like:  DNS a Race? 8 Tips for Moving On

Stay Safe in the Dark and Icy Conditions:

In winter, the days are shorter, which means we have fewer hours of daylight.  It’s absolutely imperative to make sure that if you are running alone, keep your RoadID or similar identification on you, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings, and wear reflective clothing if running at night.  Let someone know when you run solo at night!

Extra Tips on Running in the Dark

And since the weather is colder, also beware of slick sidewalks, roads, and trails that can cause a slip and/or tripping hazard while on a run.  Black ice is very dangerous!  If you can, try to find running trails that are kept clear year-round.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned my ankle on a slippery street.

You can also try to wear YakTrax running cleats, which help you navigate running in the ice and snow.

Don’t Forget Hydration:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention staying hydrated while running in the cold.  While not as great of a degree as in the summer, you’ll still be sweating and losing electrolytes during your workout in the cold.  Drink plenty of fluids before your run and bring a bottle of water or sports drink with you during your run, just like you normally would.  During my 10K on Sunday, the weather was brutally cold and windy, but I still got water at every hydration stop, and I’m so glad that I did.

Workouts for the Week:

Monday 10/27:  Evening run with Bret for 4 miles, 9:38 average pace.  Definitely out of my comfort zone, and I turned my left foot on some uneven ground :(.  It was spooky on Kelly Drive, for whatever reason most of the lights were out!  So glad we stayed safe.

Tuesday 10/28:  Decided to rest since my foot was still sore.  I did two sets of clamshells while watching the World Series.  It was really hard, which tells me I gotta get back on these hips!

Wednesday 10/29:  Core and More Class.  Was great to punch out all my frustrations haha!   Planned on running in the evening but the rain made me chicken out.  But I did two sets of 30 clamshells again.

Thursday 10/30:  Did some hip hikes in the morning.  I want to be as aggressive as I can about getting my strength up!  My left shoulder was a little sore from class the day before, but I did a nice slow run at lunch, 2.19 miles at 11 minute average pace.

Friday 10/31:  Core and More Class again, another solid workout.

Saturday 11/1:  My whole body was done!  Glutes, hips, quads, everything was sore!  I barely wanted to walk!

Sunday 11/2:  The Norcross Run the Bridge 10K!  Check out the race recap!

I’m linking up with April at Run the Great Wide Somewhere, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, and Erika from MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run!

Do you have any additional tips on how to handle running in colder weather?

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