Friday Five – Cold Weather Running Tips

Howdy! I’m coming to you from sunny, beautiful California, which kind of makes today’s post a little funny. I’m linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for some Friday Five action and today’s theme is cold weather running tips.

This is a great topic. As someone who lives in what is basically snow hell I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to what it takes to survive running in the cold and snow. Here in CNY we often get snow as early as October and it’s been know to linger into about mid April during the harsher years. I spent my fair share of Halloween’s with my costume covered by boots and a winter coat. It’s just part of growing up here in the North. But in case you need some help figuring out how to survive running in the cold, I’m here to help!

cold weather running tips

1. Invest in cold weather accessories- These would be things like gloves, a hat, and some wool socks. I especially suggest a hat with a brim if you live somewhere where the snow flies. It’ll help to keep the snow out of your eyes. As for gloves, I buy the cheap dollar stretch gloves. I like to start with them on, but I almost always, without fail regardless of temperature, rip them off after a mile or two. But that’s up to you and I highly suggest at least having them to start with. Also, if you live somewhere super snowy, you might be inclined to get some YakTrax or spike your shoes so that way you don’t slip and get hurt.

2. Buy some good cold weather running gear- I have Under Armour compression tights for when it’s really cold outside. I also have a stock pile of fleece lined Nike and Under Armour mock turtle neck long sleeved tops. Light jackets are also a good idea for days when it’s cold enough to layer up. I absolutely live in my Pearl Izumi Elite Infinity jacket. Spend a few bucks to buy some high quality gear made specifically for cold weather running. You’ll be grateful you did.

Recognize that jacket? Great for cold weather cycling too!
Recognize that jacket? Great for cold weather cycling too!

3. Dress as if it’s about ten degrees warmer than it really is- It might be frigid out when you first start, but you will get warm. I typical dress under the assumption that it’s about ten or so degrees warmer than it actually is. That’s why I run in short sleeves still even when it’s only about 40 outside, because once I get going and get warm, long sleeves are often times too much for me, which leads me to…

4. Know your threshold- Do your first few cold runs kind of short in distance so you can figure out how you need to dress to be comfortable and have a successful run. Allowing your body some time to adjust too helps. If you’ve never run in sub zero temperatures, build up to that. Don’t just jump outside on the first real cold day and hope for the best. Take some time to get acclimated to the temperatures and to learn how your body reacts when running in them.


5. Don’t forget to hydrate- When it’s cold it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. You won’t get as thirsty as quickly and you may not sweat quite as much. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t dehydrating as you run. If it’s a longer run make sure you take something with you or plan a route that has some water break spots in it. Drink up before and especially after a run, no matter the distance. This time of year it’s easy to forget but still just as important as ever.

It’s already started snowing here in New York and it’s only going to get colder and snowier. We’re expected to have a pretty harsh winter this year, so I fully expect to slogging some miles through the snow more often than not. Cold weather running can be tricky, but it’s also a lot of fun. So go out, don’t let the winter hold you hostage on the treadmill, and enjoy the cold!

Any other good cold weather running tips?

Favorite piece of cold weather running gear?

8 Replies to “Friday Five – Cold Weather Running Tips”

  1. Great tips Courtney and knowing where you live, you have lots of experience! Cold to you and cold to me (here in NC) are very different, I am sure. One piece of gear I love is the ear warmer headband. I have the Under Armour brand and is great when it is not cold enough for a winter hat, but cold enough for your ears to need cover. Also, VERY easy to slide back on your head, if your ears get too warm.

    Look forward to hearing about your California trip!
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