Lacing up your running shoes on chilly mornings might not seem like a fun idea. Especially if you hate being cold as much as I do! Running in cooler temperatures can be surprisingly satisfying, however, in fact, it’s pretty much the ideal running condition. I’m not talking blizzards and ice storms of course, but chilly mornings are perfect! Running is much easier on your body when it’s not stressed by heat and humidity. Running during the winter months has also been shown to help those who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) by releasing hormones which helps battle depression and increase positive moods. But! All of those benefits don’t mean much when your warm and cozy under the blankets and there’s frost on the ground! Hopefully, these winter running tips will make it more enticing, or at least bearable.
Winter Running Tips
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My husband and I started running at the tail end of last summer, to say we were in for a rude surprise as fall and winter rolled around was a bit of an understatement. Gone were the relatively warm mornings and the easy to get ready for runs. Now it was biting wind and dry throats thanks to the cold air. I admit that it was hard to gather enthusiasm to go running when even letting the dog out was enough to make me shiver. And we live in Georgia – it doesn’t even get that cold here. Though admittedly last winter was colder than most!
Still, we quickly learned a few tips to make running in these cooler temperatures a bit more bearable. Our progress so far had been hard won and we weren’t about to give it up thanks to lousy weather!
Dress for Running
You might be tempted to throw on all the winter gear at your disposal when you open the door and get blasted by that frosty air. Doing this will only make you more miserable in the end! Running generates a surprising amount of body heat, if you go out in your winter jacket you will think you’re in a sauna by the time you hit a half mile. The general consensus seems to be that runners should dress as though the temperature is about 20 degrees warmer then it is. If you’re a little bit chilly when you start out you’ll be perfectly toasty once you get moving. If you are prone to cold hands and ears make sure to pick up some light gloves and a headband/hat. For really cold days, don’t be afraid to add an extra layer of socks.
Consider a Facemask
Since I have asthma breathing in the cold and dry air of winter can be a bit of a pain. However, some people have difficulty with cold air even without asthma. Breathing cold air can be uncomfortable for some runners, they either hate the sensation of cold air in their chest or the dry air bothers their throat. Running with a sore throat or breathing difficulties can understandably make your runs less than fun.
Thankfully the fix for this is pretty simple! There are plenty of facemask designs out there that will help warm the air and keep the humidity levels high enough to help dry throats too. While some runners like a full ski mask covering others buy running specific masks or just use simpler scarf like materials.
Plan Your Route with the Weather in mind
If you walk outside and a frigid wind is blowing you might want to rethink your lovely open meadow run. Wind chill is no joke and neither is wind burn on your face and cheeks. Try and pick a route that will afford you a bit of protection from the elements. Choose a route with trees or buildings to give you some cover or pick one that will put the wind at your back for most of the run.
Keep your footing in mind as well. If you live in an area where snow and ice is a problem try to find a route where the roads are well plowed and salted. No one wants to come home with a sprained ankle thanks to ice. If the footing is really questionable slowdown and walk until it gets better or try again another day. Logging miles isn’t worth an injury.
Don’t Forget your Water
It’s easy to realize how much water you are loosing when you run in the summer and can literally see the sweat. You’re hot and you’re thirsty so bringing along some water or hydrating before a run is pretty high on your list of things to do. In the winter this can be less noticeable but dehydration can still be a problem. Always make sure you are well hydrated before running and bring water with you if you plan on going for a long run.
Warm up when you Get Home
If you come back from your run cold and wet then you need to get warmed up. Get out of your sweat-soaked clothes as soon as you come in. Sitting around in cold wet clothing is asking to catch a chill or get sick. Warm yourself up with a nice warm drink (I love our Keto Hot Chocolate) and take a warm shower. Pampering yourself a bit when you come back is nice motivation to get out and run in the first place!
Just go out there and do it!
Sure you might not want too. It’s really easy to push back a run and blame it on the weather. But, unless conditions are truly dangerous you’ll probably kick yourself later if you do. You’ll almost certainly regret it come spring when your running condition has suffered. Who knows? You might get out there and enjoy those chilly morning runs after following our winter running tips. I normally do! At least once I get moving!
Whats Favorite Running Season?
Great tips for running during those colder months. I’m not sure I would want to run in the winter where I live, it’s just a bit too cold and snowy for that.
Apparently, there are people who run in Alaska, which is crazy. I am sure there is specialized gear for it but wow!
Some great tips here. As much as I love summer I find it a lot easier to run when the weather starts cooling down a bit!
Same! The humidity especially can just really wear on you!
These are such helpful tips! However in the winter I much prefer to run on a treadmill 🙈 xx
I kind of wish I had access to a treadmill for super cold and rainy days but then I also know I would get bored and Connor would get mad if he didn’t get to go out with me too haha. I like running outside due to the scenery changes but some days – I could definitely see the appeal of a treadmill lol
Great tips, id never thought of wearing a ski mask to stop your throat drying out that’s the worst feeling. Just got to find the motivation to start running again aha.
It really does help a lot, I will need to break mine out soon as the air is getting cooler and cooler here in the south. Motivation can be challenging for sure but it’s worth it once you dig it up!