Tips Archives: Cold Weather Running
Cold Weather Running: Don't
be Held Hostage By the Weather!
Generally, cold weather makes running easier. Since there is less heat
buildup, there is less body fluid lost, and the cool temperature makes
running more invigorating. When the mercury drops below 50 degrees F,
however, you’ll have to start thinking of protective measures.
1. Wear a series of thin layers. Close to your skin, you’ll want
something warm. Polypro is one of a series of winter fibers that keep
the warmth close to the skin but allow extra heat and perspiration to
2. Continue to add external layers, adjusting to the temperature and
3. Cover up all extremities with extra layering: hands, ears, toes.
4. Men, wear an extra layer or two as underwear, as you need.
5. In extreme cold (when temperature or wind chill is below 10 degrees
F), do not expose any skin if possible. Even when there is minimal exposure,
put Vaseline or other cold weather insulation/protection on any area which
may incidentally be hit by the wind (eyelids, etc.).
6. Be sure to coat your shoes or use socks that insulate your feet.
Most running shoes are designed to let heat out and cold into your feet,
which can cause frostbite on days colder than 32 degrees F. Remember that
you generate a significant wind chill effect on your feet as you move
them through the running motion.
7. As you warm up through running, peel off each layer before you start
sweating. Too much sweat accumulation will freeze and cause problems.
Warm-ups That Take the Sting Out of Winter
1. On very cold days, bundle up and exercise for a very few minutes indoors.
You may walk, jog in place, use an indoor track, or exercise on the machines
(cycle, rowing, stair, etc.). Before you start sweating, go outdoors and
you’ll have a reservoir of warmth to get you down the road.
2. Start your run/walk going into the wind. This allows you to come
back with the wind.
3. If you start to get very warm, remove an outside layer of clothing
or unzip your outer layer, if applicable. A garment with long sleeves
allows you to tie it around your waist or put it in your fanny pack – because
you may need it later.
4. On cold days, pick environments where you could seek refuge for
at least a few minutes if you need to.
5. On very cold or windy days, alternate between inside and out. If
you have an indoors facility, it helps to come inside when you start to
get cold. Exercise indoors only long enough to take the sting away – but
head outdoors before you start sweating.
6. Don’t let yourself sweat because it is likely to freeze and leave
you very cold. Remove a layer or go outside before the sweat starts flowing.
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