Fitness/ Health Tips/ Motivation/ Running

Taking the Chill Out of Your Winter Run – How to Run Outside in the Winter without Getting Cold!


I gotta admit – winter is my favourite time of the year to run outside. The trees are beautiful, you burn more calories digging through the snow and I don’t feel as over-heated as I do when running in the summer. Don’t share my enthusiasm for winter running? Then here’s a few tips on how to run outside in the winter without getting cold so you can enjoy winter running too:


How to run outside in the winter - these are great winter running tips for winter running motivation!  #winterrunning #runningmotivation #runningtips

How to Run Outside in the Winter without Getting Cold!

The base should be a synthetic, moisture-wicking fabric; the middle layer should be a fleece; and the outer layer should be a windbreaker to protect against blustery weather and precipitation. But you don’t want to feel toasty. You should dress to run so that when you run out of the door, you should feel cold because at the end of your run, even if it’s only 20 or 30 minutes, you’re going to be sweaty. Thick cotton is a go-to winter fabric for everyday use but its a greedy fabric, it absorbs moisture and holds onto it. When cotton fibres get wet, they become coarser, becoming a breeding ground for blisters and chafing. Synthetics with “dry weave” labels are best.

How to run outside in the winter - these are great winter running tips for winter running motivation!  #winterrunning #runningmotivation #runningtips

The most common injuries winter runners suffer are falls – buy a pair of shoes designed for the season that are more wind and water-resistant with a multi-directional tread pattern on the soles. If you don’t want to make that kind of investment, you can strap traction devices  such as the ones manufactured by Yaktrax onto the soles of your running shoes to get a good grip. A DIY option is putting sheet metal screws on the bottom of your shoes.  (It might also be worth upgrading the size of your shoes for the winter to accommodate double-layered socks).

READ:  My Favorite Fall Workouts


You may burn more calories trying to race through piles of snow, but a cleared sidewalk, road or trail will help you maintain a steady pace.

Slather a protective layer of wind-blocker on exposed skin. My budget-friendly pick? Original Ski Balm ($9.89 from Amazon) bonus points for it also having an SPF of 40.

Another option is to invest in Buff Headwear.

How to run outside in the winter - these are great winter running tips for winter running motivation!  #winterrunning #runningmotivation #runningtips

Before you strap on your gear for a January jog, check the weather conditions – Even more important than the temperature is the wind direction make sure you’re running against it first, and with it on the way home. You might also want to adjust your running schedule in the winter when daylight hours are limited.

On particularly frigid days execute the “10-minute test”. Give yourself 10 minutes, get dressed and go out for a run and if you’re still feeling it’s too cold or too wet, go back. The beauty of that is that you still got 20 minutes of running in, no matter what.

Tips for taking the chill out of your winter run #runchat Click to Tweet

 Wind-chill factors, black ice and snowbanks shouldn’t signal the start of couch potato season!

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Do you run in the winter?  
How do you prepare for a winter run?

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    January 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I find the cold air hurts my throat/nose a little. Is it ok to cover my mouth with a scarf or is breathing in exhaled air a bad idea?

  • Reply
    January 7, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Great article. Its colder than usual in Atlanta and I've had to brave the elements. Yikes!

    Winks & Smiles,

  • Reply
    February 11, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Great tips, you really covered the bases!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Good tips as usual, Janice.
    Question however; For those who don’t like to go outside in the winter time, let alone, go for a jog, do you believe jump rope exercise routines should achieve pretty much the same heart-rate pumping results?


  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    LOL I’m a sissy – but I still walk when it’s cold. Though I believe my cold is different than your cold. Good socks, lots of layers, hats, and gloves – we can do it!

  • Reply
    Sye Rodriguez
    January 2, 2012 at 3:06 am

    I’ve gotta admit running in the winter is something I like to do as well Janice, but I think I need some different shoes than I’ve been using.

    I have Vibram 5 fingers made from very thin, almost mesh, material. They are great for my knees but I live in Colorado and there is snow on the ground.

    These shoes don’t help to keep my feet from freezing.

    I’ve been keeping my runs a little shorter because of this.

    I’m thinking of trying some different Vibrams that are a little more suitable for winter.

    Are you familiar with Vibrams, and do you know of any specific model that is good for keeping the feet warmer.

  • Reply
    Leah @ Run. Crave. Conquer.
    January 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Love the 10-minute test for winter running! Great advice.

  • Reply
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub
    January 12, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Great tips Janice. I like running in winter up to a point. I’m not crazy enough to get outside when it’s -20 or colder. I am a-okay with going to the treadmill at those temperatures.

  • Reply
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner
    January 12, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    I could use a pair of winter running shoes for sure! I have the yaxtrax ready to go just need some snow

  • Reply
    Bharat Sharma
    January 13, 2016 at 2:27 am

    I think you are made up of steel and that’s the only reason you are able to run every day no matter how cold the weather is. For me, running and winter don’t get along well with each other but I do go for morning walk every day irresepctive of weather ( rainy season is an exception tough).

    Joke apart, but I love your enthusiasm but I hope one day I will have the same enthusiasm. I am not much of a runner but I love walking long distance and slowly and steadily I am adding more yards to my walking routine.

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  • Reply
    January 13, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    I don’t run but walking quickly always warms me up in the winter … I need to purchase those tractions for the shoes… I’don’t feel safer walking fast or doing a quick jog ??

  • Reply
    Lucie Palka
    January 15, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Those are great tips for winter running! I ran my first 10 km race last year, in -20 (-30 with Windchill) and it was quite the experience. Luckily I was dressed properly. What I find tricky is running when the snow is melting. I’ve had a bad experience with wet, cold feet!

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    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions
    January 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I’m totally with you – I’d choose winter running over summer running any day, even with all the additional considerations that come along with winter running. I think it can be a very pleasant experience if you’re on cleared pathways and are dressed appropriately (which is the #1 key to enjoying winter running, from what I’ve found). Merino wool is also great for a baselayer – I swear that stuff is magic.