How To Run In The Cold: Top 8 Tips

It’s that time of year, friends! The days are shorter, colder, sometimes windier and snowier (if you live in the Northeast like me!) You’re registered for an upcoming winter/spring race and still have to get those miles in, so what’s the best way? Running outside! Find your inner adventurer and check out my top 8 tips for running in the cold.

Will Run for Disney’s Top 8 Tips for Running in the Cold:

1. Start now. Your body will adapt over time. If you go out on a particularly cold day and your lungs are searing from the pain, you will be more likely to skip the next time. Plan to run in the mornings when generally less windy/cold (here me out) and you’ll get it over with first thing. That way evening temptations won’t make you skip!

2. Plan. Set your clothes out the night before. I can’t stress this enough. Make it so easy that all you have to do is roll onto the floor, into your clothes, and out the door. You won’t have time to think about the consequences! Dangerous conditions? If you know this ahead of time, sign up for a fitness class or treadmill time. It’s not ideal but it’s better than skipping.

3. Invest in layers. You will hate running outside if you aren’t properly dressed; this means too hot OR too cold. If you try to run in four layers and a fleece jacket in 40 degree weather you will feel overheated and bogged down. As a general rule, here’s a guideline from SparkPeople based on the temperature.

Everyone’s temperature “runs” a little differently, so keep testing gear until you know what works. Hats, mittens, and gaiters for the very cold temps are lifesavers. And if it’s icy, invest in some crampons to attach to the bottom of your shoes.

4. Map out your course and stay close to home. Try to create a route that doesn’t stray too far from home in case the weather worsens. You don’t want to get stuck in an “out and back” course.

5. Try to run against the wind on the way out, and have the wind at your back on the way home. This is generally hard to plan ahead of time, but if you can, it could potentially save your life.

6. Slow your pace. Especially if there is a significant amount of snow and ice on the ground. You’re not going to be seeing top speeds in unclear conditions so it’s best to just get the job done at whatever pace is safe/comfortable for you.

7. As soon as you finish, change immediately into dry, warm clothes. Better yet, take a warm shower and drink warm beverages to get that body temperature back where it should be.

8. Feel like a champion. The roads will be calm and quiet, and the only other people you will see are fellow runners like you out with the same mission. Enjoy the sunrise and the start of a new day.

I’m certainly not perfect- I plan on reviewing this list frequently myself. I’m used to running in cold, snowy conditions but it can still be challenging to get out of bed. And I certainly know that safety is my number one priority. It is NOT worth my life or injuring myself to get a run in if it’s not meant to be. Be safe out there friends, and enjoy the beauty winter has to offer! Come springtime when everyone resurfaces on the roads you’ll wonder where they were while you were beasting out the winter months!

Happy winter training!
-Gina / Will Run for Disney


Disclaimer: Please keep in mind, I’m neither a coach, nor a medical professional. These are simply the tricks of the trade I have learned over time. For legitimate advice, please consult a running or medical professional.




about 7 years ago

Def needed this list this morning for my 16 mile run! It was around 16 degrees! Not my best long run, and I am still recovering! But I saw a beautiful sunrise, and enjoyed some smiles of other runners as crazy as me running at the crack of dawn! Thanks for the continued posts and motivation!! Happy training!


about 7 years ago

Thank you for your comment and for following along! :) It was a COLD one yesterday but we did it! I love our crazy/awesome running community.

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