Most runners know there’s a certain element of “suck” when it comes to training in the cold. But there are certain things you can do to limit this and make the experience better!
From the best cold weather running gear to tips for running in the cold, here’s how to get the most out of your winter training — from endurance runner (and BOCO Ambassador) Don Reichelt.
What to Wear When Running in the Cold
Strategic layers and quality cold weather running accessories make all the difference in a successful winter training routine. Here are my 4 must-haves for running in the cold.
Dress for 15 Degrees Warmer
I recommend leaving the house dressed for 15ish degrees warmer. You’ll be cold to start, but hit that sweet spot shortly after you get moving.
It’s better than immediately stripping and storing layers as you go!
Follow up on the layers: buy a nice base layer meant for cold weather running. It’s one of the best winter investments you can make.
Always Bring a Neck Gaiter
Neck gaiters are fantastic for keeping multiple parts of your body warm while you run in the cold. From keeping your neck warm to wrapping around your head, a neck gaiter is my favorite winter running accessory.
I love it so much that I recommend keeping an extra neck gaiter on you at all times!
Full Winter Neck Gaiter – Triangle Mountain Scene >
Need more warmth around your ears? Need your neck warmer? Need to run into a gas station bathroom, and also need a mask?
Neck gaiters are always the answer. And they weigh next to nothing, so I ALWAYS keep an extra in my pocket just in case.
Okay, one more on the neck gaiter: these are amazing for warming up the air and keeping your lungs happy. Pull it over your mouth and breath feely. It’s 2021, so that should feel pretty normal at this point, eh?
Check out our collection of neck gaiters for running in the cold >
Wear Cold Weather Running Gloves
Invest in a quality pair of cold weather running gloves. Those cheap throwaway gloves can work well for the start of a cold race.
But for real winter training, you’ll need to find a real pair of gloves. Pairs that come with a wind cover are my favorite!
Shop our cold weather running gloves for men and women >
Invest in Traction That Will Keep You Upright
Falling on ice while cold weather running is “snow” fun. Brands like Yaktrax and Kahtoola make specific traction devices that slip onto your shoes for ice and slick conditions.
The old-fashioned method is to take an older pair of shoes and insert small sheet metal screws around the bottom. I recommend a dab of gorilla glue to hold them tight!
Cold Weather Running Tips
From warm up to cool down, running in the cold requires an adjustment from your typical routine. Here are some ways I’ve found make it easier to run in cold weather.
Set Yourself Up for Success
If you’re a morning runner, lay your clothing out the night before. It’s already cold and likely dark, so taking away one additional barrier will make your morning training slightly less straining.
Stop worrying about your paces when running in the cold. The colder the temps, the harder it’ll be to run your “usual” paces safely.
So just enjoy yourself and run to perceived exertion rather than pace. Your watch is likely covered by your jacket anyway…so just enjoy the miles!
Take Time to Warm Up
If you’re doing a structured workout in the cold, make sure you warm up appropriately before throwing down the fast stuff.
Hard work on cold muscles is a quick recipe for injury. I recommend 25-30 minutes of running before going hard. Ease into the hard work, regardless of the warmup.
Run With Friends
Bring friends. It’s hard to get out of bed to work out outside on a cold morning. But misery loves company, so get a group together. You’ll be much more successful and less likely to hit snooze 100x times.
Take Short Strides
Even with traction devices, keep your stride short when running on slippery surfaces like snow and ice. A short stride with a quick turnover will lessen the chance of a slip or fall.
Try New Routes
Running the same route can get old, and doing it in the cold or snow makes it even harder. Going to new trails or paths will help you see new things and keep you distracted from the elements.
After your cold weather run is over, it’s important to protect your muscles and stay warm and healthy. Here are some post-run tips for running in the cold.
- Change your clothes quickly. Sitting around in sweaty clothing can cause chills (and just isn’t fun to deal with). So get changed and take a warm shower when you’re done!
- Don’t forget to hang up your hats/gloves so they also can dry out. The worst thing in the world is finding your gloves all balled up and still wet tomorrow morning
- Don’t forget the recovery! Running in the winter can be harsh on your muscles, especially in snow and on ice. So roll out and do some active stretching.
- Don’t forget to praise yourself for running in the winter! It’s hard to run in the cold, and you DID IT!
Get Your Cold Weather Running Gear Today!
As endurance running freaks, we don’t let a little cold weather stop us from getting our miles in. That’s why we’ve designed the best cold weather running gear to help you get outside all year round — no matter the weather.
From neck gaiters to running gloves to beanies and more, we’ve got the goods to keep you warm and comfortable all winter long.