Tips for Running During the Winter Months

by Mary & Christina on January 9, 2011 · 3 comments

This week, Mary and I met our friends Lindsey, Steph, and Christine in Philly to run.  It had snowed all night long and had just tapered off when we met up to run in the morning.  As we approached the Philadelphia Art Museum to meet up with our friends, a car that was passing by rolled down their window and asked if we were part of a running club or if we really loved running THAT much that we would run through the snow.  Our answer, of course, was that we just loved to run!  Then the guy said “are those tights really that warm?” Yes sir, they are.  And yes we are wearing sneakers to run through the snow.  Curious man, he was. haha

The more I thought about the conversation with that person the more I thought that although I think that it is very normal to run through the snow in the freezing cold…the majority of people do not. But the thing is…there is no reason to fear the outdoors during the winter season.  Sure the cold weather (along with the holidays) can really mess with your  running regimen, but the winter is one of the best seasons to be a runner. The weather is cool (granted it is sometimes TOO cool) and most running paths aren’t crowded.  I LOVE running on the Atlantic City/Ocean City boardwalks in the fall/winter….I do not have to run around surreys, strollers, mindless people, etc. Running outside in the cold is also a fantastic excuse to buy cute new running clothes! haha

Tips for running SAFELY outside during the winter months…

Set a Specific Goal: Whether you plan to run a 5k, a marathon, or just plan to hit a certain number of miles per month, there is nothing more motivating than setting a goal.  Once you reach that goal, reward yourself, and then plan out another goal!

Run With a Buddy or Group: Having a friend to run with is not only a way to make your workout more safe (and social!)… but it is also a good way to motivate yourself.  In Baltimore, I used to run with my with friend Megan.  There were days that no bone in my body wanted to go outside and run.  But knowing that I had made a plan with her (and that she was outside waiting for me!) gave me the motivation I needed.  For me, the miles FLY by when you have someone to run with and talk with.

Accessorize: Not only is the winter a good excuse to buy some new running clothes but it also helps to make winter running a bit more bearable. Layering is the key to avoiding over- or under-dressing. Consider wearing a layer that blocks the wind; pants, tights and top that wick the moisture away from your skin; and, for the coldest days, a mid-layer that fits more loosely—like fleece—that insulates and moves the moisture from your base layer away from your skin.

Dress for 15 to 20 Degrees Warmer: Over-dressing is easy to do in winter running. If you dress for 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually is, this will allow your body temp to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.

Run During Light and Warmer Times of Day: If possible, run during daylight hours so you can absorb that needed sunshine we rarely get in the winter (VITAMIN D!). You’ll get your miles in during the warmest time of day and come back with a smile on your face.

Be Seen: If you run when it is dark out, wear a reflective vest or flashing lights so you’re seen by traffic. In snowy weather, wear bright clothing. Run with identification or a runner’s I.D. in your shoe or pocket—just in case.

Hit the Treadmill: When the weather gets bone-chillingly cold and icy, hit the treadmill!  Although the treadmill doesnt quite add up to the outdoor elements, it is still a great way to stay fit and get in some good miles.  Use the incline setting on the treadmill to stimulate the outdoors.

Take Extra Time To Warm Up: Your body will warm up more slowly in cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Before beginning your run, start out with a 5 minutes walk. It may take 10 to 15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo.

Hydrate: It is just as important to drink fluids in your winter runs as it is in the summer. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your runs to avoid dehydration. Use warm fluids in your water bottle or tuck it under your jacket to avoid freezing.

Keep it Fun: Mix up your route, run through the neighborhood holiday lights or run a holiday race. It will get you outside and enjoying winter rather than cursing it.

source: and Fleet Feet

If Rocky did it, so can you!  So get out there and RUN!!!!!!! (I am fully aware how corny that was haha)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth January 9, 2011 at 9:42 am

I had to deal with this while I was traveling the past couple of weeks. I was staying with a friend abroad and when he found out that I ran in the snow and didn’t think anything of running in the rain, he told me I was crazy. Lol! I love running in the winter when it’s significantly cooler! Wish I could be part of your running crew. Sounds like fun!


2 BostonRunner January 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Dressing 15-20 degrees warmer I find is my most useful tip, it’s really true!
I have such trouble motivating myself to run outside in Boston winters, but I have no trouble getting myself to the treadmill so I feel like I’m doing alright!


3 linds January 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

lol that was corny indeed
thanks for the tipz


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