Tips&Tricks Of Surviving Winter Runs

This is sort of a follow up to my “things to love about winter running” post on Tuesday.
I still run outside in the wintertime because if I didn’t—I would be a stir-crazy mad woman!! For any runner training for the Boston Marathon, or any other spring marathon, you know that you will have to do at least a little running outside. I feel like people are always asking me if I still run through the winter so I thought I would give you a little info about how I survive it!

1) Right when I come in from my run, I change out of my clothes. I get SUPER hot right when I come inside the house and feel like I can’t breathe..but within ten minutes, I’m already freezing cold. I change quickly out of my running clothes, or hop right in the shower! I have always felt like this helps to keep me from getting sick—cold/damp clothes keep the runner cold and damp.

2.)Watch out for those unstable surfaces. I wear Yaktrax when necessary. And I’m super careful on an unknown surface. When in doubt, walk through the icy/snowy patches.

3.)Layer it up! I’m THE QUEEN of layers. On any given cold weather day you can find me in a long sleeve shirt (or two) , my jacket, tights, running pants, and compression socks! Oh, and a hat and gloves and a scarf. All that effort just to enjoy the outdoors….

4.)I’m really careful in the dark. Since it gets dark at 4 and I get home at 3:45, I have to make sure I use headlamps and lots of bright, reflective clothing. The worst idea ever is for you to go running, outside, in dark/unreflective clothing. You might as well lay down in traffic if you are going to do that because you are asking for an unfortunate incident!

5.) I shorten my stride considerably in the winter time. This helps me minimize my potential for falling! (because I tend to be VERY clumsy!)

6.) Sometimes I give up and just run on the old mill. I admit it, I get lazy. And if I’m starting a run in “full dark” than I tend to stick to the treadmill to keep my husband happy(he gets nervous for some reason;)). There are a ton of local gyms in my area too, and I’m also considering getting a membership for only $9.99 a month. . .On the days where my own treadmill makes me sad, I can meet SIL at the gym and we can run side by side!!! #bonus

1.) you have to be extra super super careful in the dark. Headlamps, reflective gear, blinking lights, knuckle lights….all of these are your friend. USE THEM. During the winter months, I tend to stick to more main roads vs. back roads because I feel they are well taken care of, maintained nicely, and have better lighting. There is nothing worse than being on a dark road when suddenly a car drives by you and suddenly you are blinded. #annoying.
(super cool here in my headlamp!)

2.) Snow and ice will slow you down, considerably. But think about how fast you will be in the spring!

3.) Sometimes winter running makes me CRAZY sore. The muscles I use to control my movements are exaggerated in the winter months as I play my favorite game of “lets try not to fall today.” (best game ever? NOT)

4.) Whether you are doing a cold weather race, or just a regular run, try to remember that you will need to do a longer warmup because your muscles will take longer to reach their full warmed-up potential.

And most importantly….

5. Try to remember that winter running, just like summer running, takes an adjustment period. Your bodies will adjust to the colder temps and it won’t be as hard to push yourself out the door. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect!!

How do you survive winter running? Tips?


18 thoughts on “Tips&Tricks Of Surviving Winter Runs

  1. Happy for this post today- I am out the door at 5 AM, in all seasons. Today it was 25 degrees and my muscles took three miles to warm up- which stunk because it was only a 5 mile run! though I wear a ton of reflective gear (and carry mace in my hand), I know a need a headlamp…. Dear Santa….. 🙂

  2. Too bad I may rarely or never use these tips although the head lamp is a great idea even for running in Florida especially on the trails

  3. excellent tips! sometimes the charles river paths can be so icy, and sometimes yaktrax just wont work so i either run on the grassy areas, or turn around and find a better route – like going over to comm ave where i know the streets will be clear. so find a route that you know will be safe and clear from snow/ice. i also tend to run on the streets rather than sidewalks in the winter to avoid the snow and ice, so i make sure to wear light colored reflective gear. for longer runs when i need gels, i try to warm them up in my hand a mile or so before taking them, or they are hard to swallow. sometimes i carry them in my sports bra instead of a pocket to make sure they stay liquidy 🙂

  4. Reading this makes me glad I live in SC where our ‘real’ winter only lasts about a week. But number 5 of things to remember is an especially great reminder even for those of us in more temperate climates!

  5. I think I need to get some YakTrax. Do you feel like they help? I also get so sore from running in the snow! I remember slowing down SO much and at first it was frustrating but then I decided I would rather be running slow outside than on a treadmill.

  6. Yea..I need to get some more layers so I can begin running outside in the cold..I have been sticking to the treadmill (not a fan..) because I am such a wuss in the cold! And it doesn’t even get icy out here very often 😉

  7. Absolutely layers is the best tip and I completely agree. I’m terrified of falling on ice and since we don’t have sidewalks in my neighborhood, it’s pretty precarious running. I might just suck it up and run at the local track when I need to, even though that’s boring as hell. At least not as boring as the treadmill – which I’ll also use when I have to but can’t stand because I feel “wobbly”.

  8. Like I said in my post, knowing how to fall is a crucial consideration for me simply to assuage my fear of dying. But these are all great tips–winter running can be truly dangerous, if you aren’t prepared!

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