Cold Weather Running Tips

Coach Mike Broderick

Now that winter is here and the weather has turned considerably colder, outdoor exercisers may find it more of a challenge to keep up with their regular training. Here are a few simple things that you can do to improve your enjoyment of and tolerance for colder weather exercise.

Warm Up First

- Important to prepare muscles, tendons and ligaments for exercise in cold temperatures

- Hot shower or bath for 5-10 minutes before run

- Light calisthenic exercises (walk in place, toe touches, push ups, jumping jacks, sit ups)

Wear Appropriate Clothing

- Wear layers and do not overdress. If you are warm when you start you will overheat.

- Protect head and extremities. Greatest heat loss is through head-so wear a hat in cold conditions.

- In very cold weather mittens are much more effective than gloves at keeping fingers warm.

- Wear wool socks such as Smartwool. Wool has much better insulation than cotton and synthetic socks and will keep feet warm even when wet. NO cotton socks

Hydration is still Important

- Fluid needs are equal to or greater than in hot weather running-so don’t forget to drink water.

- Colder, dryer air can facilitate dehydration and lack of obvious sweating obscures need for fluid replacement.

- Remember to dress in layers as overdressing will cause profuse sweating and can cause dehydration.

- Put warm water in your water bottle or Camelback at start of run in winter to keep from freezing and for additional warmth.


- Shock absorbing ability of shoes is reduced in very cold temperatures.

- Try to keep shoes inside or in a warmer area to reduce temperature related loss of cushioning.

- Use replacement insoles such as Spenco, Sorbothane, etc. to provide additional cushioning.

- In snowy or icy conditions, try substituting a trail running shoe for usual road shoe for greater tread and traction.

Try Cross Training as an Alternative

- Maintain cardiovascular/aerobic conditioning during difficult running weather.

- Allow running muscles time to rest and recover from training and racing.

- Improve overall strength and conditioning by working different muscles and using different movement patterns.

- Reduce or prevent overuse injuries by varying musculoskeletal training loads both during off season and all alternative to higher running volumes during season.

- Strengthening and conditioning the assisting and stabilizing muscle groups which allow primary running muscles to work more efficiently and effectively.

Don’t let the cold weather keep you from exercising. Follow these guidelines and enjoy the break from the heat and humidity while staying fit year round.

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