Cold Weather Running Tips
Ask and you shall receive! When we announced our partnership with Running Room back in September the response was ASTOUNDING! It was amazing to hear that so many of you had gotten into the sport over the past several months. Even more amazing was learning that the majority of people hope to continue their outdoor running into the Winter (which, sort of already arrived and left and now is bound to show up again soon!).
The number one question we received was regarding how to take your outdoor running from warm weather to FREEZING weather! Well, friends, you’ve come to the right place. We’re breaking Winter running down for you and providing our hottest cold weather running tips to keep you warm and having fun, even in the frigid temps!
First things first! When it comes to winter running, ensuring you stay warm and protected from the elements is priority number one. If you are freezing or wet from rain/snow, your experience will be miserable! In order to dress properly, layering is KEY. I always aim to dress as though it is 15 – 20 degrees colder outside than it actually is. This is because the “real feel” of the temperature is likely chillier than the forecast when you factor in less sunlight and greater windchill in the winter months. The idea is to start your run feeling comfortable, not cold.
Ideally, I dress in 3-4 layers so that as my run progresses, I can peel off a layer or two if need be, but never feel like I need to “add”anything. I start with a long form fitting base layer, like a turtle neck thermal or half- zip. My two favourites that I rotate are this long sleeve running top for women and this half zip long sleeve women’s running shirt.
Depending on the temperature, you may not need the vest and the jacket. I would say -5 to -15 you can get away with only the vest and a shell. Anything cooler and the jacket is a must.
I always complete my layers with this Running Room Reflective Jacket. A reflective shell jacket is essential for winter running as it keeps out the wind and water. I have had this one for TEN years and it is still in perfect condition.
One of the things I love most about purchasing gear from the Running Room is the superior quality. Yes, some pieces are an investment upfront, but when you can wear them year after year and the quality remains, it is well worth it!
Now for pants. I highly recommend finding a pair with a fleece layer that is both wind and waterproof (are you sensing a theme here?). A good quality pair will save your legs from the bitter cold air and allow you to stay out longer! I recently picked up these and have been absolutely LOVING them so far.
I must admit, I only discovered Smart Wool socks last year… and boy, was I ever missing out! These Merino Wool products are total game changers!!! They are by far are the most soft, comfortable and breathable socks I’ve ever worn, and they will wick sweat and moisture away from skin as you run. This means your feet stay warm and cozy the whole time- no wet, cold, and clammy toes here!!
My number one concern when I first started outdoor running was how not to Fall! Thankfully, shoe technology has come a loooong way. There are now some fantastic waterproof shoes that are ideal for keeping your feet dry and warm and also boast built in grips for pavement and ice. The two below are great options and come very highly rated and reviewed!
If you’re not in the market for new runners (or just really love your current pair- like me!), but still want the comfort of not slipping, I recommend spikes for extra grip. Essentially, they are easily slip-on cleats that can go over your shoes. I have had these ones for 5+ years and I absolutely love them!
3. Adjust your Expectations.
Unlike the Spring and Summer months where we may be training for races or just taking advantage of great weather and logging a lot of Kilometers, Winter running is all about endurance! For me, I stop checking (okay, obsessing) over my pace, and I just.keep.moving. When I begin a run I always do a quick warm up indoors – high knees, jumping jacks or butt kickers before going outside. I start slowly in a jog so my body can adapt to the temperature and conditions. Then I transition to a comfortable pace for 5-7 minutes before gradually increasing my speed. For the duration of my run I keep a fairly consistent pace. If you are in dire need of a HIIT or sprint workout- save those for an indoor track.
4. Buddy Up
For me, the number one thing that keeps me motivated to run in the Winter Months is knowing my Running Buddy is counting on me. Not only is there safety in numbers, but being able to visit as you run passes the time ad makes it more enjoyable!
Weather obviously plays a huge role. A few things you may not know:
- wind chill does not measure temperature; it measures the rate of cooling. On a day with high wind chill, prepare for the wind.
- Run into the wind for the first part of your run and with the wind on the return portion.
- Be aware of hypothermia for both yourself and those running with you. Hypothermia is a drop in your core body temperature. Signs of hypothermia include incoherent, slurred speech, clumsy fingers and poor coordination. At the first sign, get to a warm, dry place and seek medical attention. You are more likely to experience difficulty on a wet and windy day.
- Take your wet clothes off and get dry ones on as soon as possible.
Thank you to Running Room for sponsoring this post. We hope these tips helped! Have any other Running questions? Feel free to email us or reach out on Instagram.