How I Survive Winter Running

Winter running can be a challenge.  Here’s my how to guide to getting through the cold months and stay on track running:

 Layers!!!  During the cold months running in the Midwest means piling on the layers.  I generally think in terms of three layers for my upper body.  The base layer, a thermal long sleeve, a middle layer long sleeve technical shirt or jacket, and a top layer that acts as a shell and provides protection against the wind.  Bottoms, I prefer tights with thermal protection.  On windy days, I will also add a wind barrier pant over my tights.  Capris and shorts you ask?  Not this girl in the winter! To keep my head toasty warm I wear a headband that fully covers my ears and then top it off with a beanie type hat.  My fingers and toes tend to be my biggest challenge.  I have found that smart wool socks and shoes with gor-tex lining keep my feet warm even when running in snow.  My fingers are sensitive to the cold so I often wear two layers – gloves and mittens, with hand warmers inside.  This year Santa brought me a new pair of gloves for my winter running though.  I gave them a test run this weekend and they were AWESOME SAUCE!  Three exciting words: HEATED, PERFORMANCE, GLOVES.  Yep, warmth all the way to my fingertips!   In general, dress for 15-20 warmer than the actual temperature.  Using the layering system, you can always shed a layer if you get too warm. 

 There is a point where even the die-hard will make a compromise.  There are times that we really should consider the value to be gained, and risk of the situation.  Those days where temps are single digits and I have a long run planned, I may do half of my run outside, and then finish it on the treadmill inside.  When the paths and trails are ice covered, I will take my run inside.  Be safe – consider what’s important to you long term.  If possible, try to get outside for at least one run each week. 

 Staying motivated to run in the winter can be challenging.  I have several of tricks for this one!  Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Sign up for a spring race.
  2. Meet up with buddies or a local running group.
  3. DVR and Netflix.  I only watch tv while I’m running. 
  4. A new pair of running shoes.
  5. Participate in a challenge.
  6. I read books and articles written by runners or athletes for inspiration.
  7. Try rearranging your schedule so you can run when it’s daylight.

How do you keep moving on when the temps drop and the wind is howling?  What motivates you to lace up your shoes and get out the door? 


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