5 Cold-Weather Running Quick Tips

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” Fortunately, we’re not there yet in the DC Metro Area (or the DMV as we call it to confuse everyone else), but I believe it’s coming soon! We mostly skipped over fall this year, with just a few fall days sprinkled into this early winter. So, with colder temperatures comes colder outdoor activities, and that includes running.
I’m a big baby when it comes to running in the cold, but I’ve gotten better (I think?). My first half marathon, the temps started below freezing when I got to the start line, and you better believe I was absolutely miserable. I didn’t really know how to prepare for that, and I wish I had done some research on how to dress for running in the cold. Here I am today, older, wiser (maybe?), sharing some quick tips about how to run in cold weather.

  1. Dress as though it’s about 10-20 degrees warmer outside than it actually is. This is my least favorite thing about cold-weather running, but I’ve finally come to grips with it. Once you get warmed up and start going, you won’t feel so cold and miserable. I know, you want to start out warm and stay the same temperature the entire time, but that’s not really how running works. Beginner’s Tip: Run where you can store your items somewhere safe (e.g. your car, home, stroller, or with someone you know who isn’t running with you) once you get warmed up. Once you can let yourself get used to the feeling of starting out cold, leave those items behind, or maybe even keep those extra layers near you for a little peace of mind. 
  2. Layer up – but don’t go full-blown snowperson. You can always take layers off and put them in pockets are tie your jacket around your waist- as long as it’s not a super heavy, puffy coat! Beginner’s Tip: Look for outer layers that protect you from the wind and also have reflective detailing. This will keep you warmer and more visible out on the roads or in the woods (especially during hunting season!). Also, consider purchasing yourself a Buff (affiliate link)!
  3. Stay as dry as possible! Make sure your outer layer protects you from precipitation whether it’s raining, sleeting, or snowing. Wear moisture-wicking socks – preferably made with wool – that will keep your feet warm. I love my Farm to Feet and Smartwool socks (affiliate links). I also use these for hiking! Beginners’ Tip: Test out your gear on a shorter run with precipitation. Don’t decide to go for your long run the very first time you run in the snow or you are going to maybe not be the happiest camper. When you get back in from your run, throw some newspaper in and around your shoes to help them dry quicker, or use one of these other quick-drying tricks.
  4. Wear sunblock. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the sun is hibernating! Protect your skin. Beginner’s Tip: Protect your eyes as well! Throw on some sunglasses if you’re running during the day.
  5. Be smart – don’t run in the middle of a windy polar vortex! There’s no reason to risk your health and safety just because you want to run outdoors. Use a treadmill or change up your workout for the day with a different form of cardio. You only get one body, people!

Today, I’m linking up with Kookyrunner and Zenaida for their Tuesday Topics linkup!

For more info about cold-weather running, check out this guide to running in the cold from Runner’s World.

Do you have any cold-weather running tips or tricks? Questions? Leave them in the comments!

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  1. I do as you do 🙂 A trick I figured out a couple years ago is to wear a summer wind-breaker over a fleece jacket (or even just a good thermal base layer). The wind will stay out and most of the heat will stay in. I try to opt outside more often than not (I detest the 'mill), so I'm all about staying warm but also running with caution & respecting the weather.

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