How to Keep Warm Running When it’s Cold Outside?

runners in snow

Runners in cold weather

If you live in an area of the country that has months of cold weather, then you may find yourself running outside.

Sure, you could just stick to the treadmills and indoor tracks, but it’s not quite the same. Many people actually find that they enjoy winter running.

The hardest part of running in the winter is staying warm without overheating. The good news is that there are great options available when it comes to fitness gear.

If you’re not sure the best way to keep warm running in winter, then you’ve come to the right place. With a little work, you can set yourself up to keep up with your fitness goals, regardless of the weather conditions.

How-To Guide to Keep Warm Running during the Winter Months

  • Start with an Inside Warmup

If you start your run while you’re cold, it’s going to be much more challenging to keep going. It’s a good idea to do a 10-15 minute warmup inside.  This will help you to loosen up muscles, joints, and raise your body temperature slightly.

This warmup time will get you ready for facing the cold weather. When you take the time to do this, the cold won’t feel as bad and your muscles will be looser through the run.

  • Wear Base Layers

It’s a good idea to splurge a little and buy a good base layer. This layer should not only keep you warm but also wick away moisture. Make sure to wear a base layer on both the top and bottom.

You can then add extra layers based on the temperature. In general, you want to dress as if the temperature is about 15 degrees warmer than reality. This will allow you to stay warm while you run while not overheating.

  • Wear a Hat and Gloves

Even if you start to feel warm, your head is where you lose a significant amount of heat. Your hands are also going to be more prone to frostbite and you may not even realize it.

Get running gloves that are lightweight but also insulating.

  • Be Flexible with Pace and Mileage

Even if you’re a seasoned runner, you may be surprised that you struggle to get the miles and pace that you did in warmer weather. Your body has to do more work just by being in cold weather.

If you find yourself getting cold during your runs, it may be better to break up your long run into two shorter ones. You can get the best conditions by running during the day when it will likely be warmer.

Let yourself be slightly slower than normal though and you’ll find that your runs go better.

  • Get Good Shoes and Socks

If you’re running in the winter, you’re going to encounter slush and melting snow. Although many running shoes are designed for good ventilation, look for ones that have the least amount of mesh. This will help to keep the warmth in and the water out.

Make sure that you have good shoes on hand that will wick away wetness but also keep you warm.

  • Change quickly after your run

Your core temperature drops quickly when you stop running. In order to prevent being chilled, change your clothes as quickly as possible. It’s especially important to remove any damp underwear right away.

Drink something hot like a soup or a hot tea in order to warm up after a run. If you’re driving to a run, you can stock your car with a thermos to be prepared.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any fabrics I should avoid for running gear?

The best fabrics to choose are synthetic wicking materials that most major sporting brands carry. It’s a good idea to avoid cotton, even in the warmer months.

During the winter, cotton can stay damp and make you colder in the long run.

  • Is it unsafe to run in the cold weather?

While running in the winter can be done safely, you should monitor conditions for safety. Running in areas that have a significant amount of ice should be avoided.

Also, if you start to feel numbness in your extremities, it’s probably time to head back. Most seasoned runners have the right gear but you may need to purchase some winter running clothing for the best results.

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