How Do You Run in the Winter?

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Many people hang up their running shoes for the winter but some of us trudge on. It isn’t very fun (I still don’t think running is actually very fun) but it is very do-able. Of course a nice run on a 60 degree evening is more ideal but I live in Maine and I love it here. Maine isn’t going to change so I have to.

You are going to need the right attitude, a little drive and it is probably a good idea to look into some good cold weather running gear but you CAN run in the winter.

Get the motivation

It is going to be up to you to get out there and run. Not many friends will be dragging you out and a Sunday brunch is going to sound a lot more appealing than a cold run. You need to have the motivation to drag yourself out there.

Think about how much farther ahead in the game you will be when the warmer months roll around. Think about not gaining that 3, 5, 7, 20 pounds you seem to pick up every winter. Take note of your energy levels. I ,for one, always feel tired and more into hibernating than socializing in the winter. When I run, I have a lot more energy and I feel much better.

Get the right equipment

One of the reasons I took up running was that, other than shoes, you didn’t need to invest a lot in clothing or club memberships. My first winter running, I used the clothing I had. Over the last few years I have slowly been adding and acquiring better running clothes and it has made a big difference.

Some of the key pieces I would recommend for making winter runs more bearable would be:

Be flexible

I was supposed to run tonight but it is currently 25 degrees, 20 mile an hour winds and it feels like it is 13 degrees out. Tomorrow though it is supposed to be about 30 degrees and the wind is supposed to die down. I am going to run tomorrow afternoon instead of tonight. Also, the sun will be out so it will be more pleasant. This means I will have to go into work early so I can sneak out for an hour or so but it will be worth it.

For me to run, I need to schedule it. I am not able to run ‘when I have time’ because time will never just present itself. I am too busy. I have to put it in my calendar but when dealing with the weather, you have to be willing to wiggle some things around. I try to run every Wednesday night and I swear Wednesdays are almost guaranteed to be rainy or snowy. Just because the weather doesn’t cooperate doesn’t mean you are off the hook.

Know where you can find a treadmill

I hate the treadmill. It is torture. Sometimes though you just have to admit it is too cold or that you aren’t going to catch a break with Mother Nature. Treadmills are better than curling up on the couch with a pint of ice cream. I cancelled my gym membership but I am lucky enough to have a treadmill in my office building. I also know the day drop in rate for two local gyms between my office and my house. For me, a drop in of $8 here and there is cheaper than a full membership to a gym.

That is some of the ways I can manage to run outside and I hope that helps. How about any of you? Do any of you have any advice on keeping with running during the colder and darker months?

I also just found this neat page on the Runner’s World site where you put in the weather conditions and they recommend what you wear.

Photo credit: pixdaus

Stay warm and happy running!

9 Replies to “How Do You Run in the Winter?”

  1. I recently invested in a pair of good crampons at LLBEAN and tried them out on a 27 degree some snow and ice condition morning. Results were decent, it takes a little getting used to as you sort of feel like youre running on metal stilts, but my footing was sure no matter what I ran over.
    I am training for a half marathon in march and can not stand running on treadmills, so I think this will enable me to keep on trucking even when the its icy all winter lojg

  2. I really don’t like running in the cold, but I think it’s better than the treadmill. However it’s only light out during my work hours so the gym and treadmill win. I think the treadmill has actually grown on me a little.

    1. Yea running not during work hours in the winter is tough. I am VERY lucky to have a job with flexible hours so this winter I plan on doing a lot more afternoon runs and coming into work early or staying late to capitalize on when the day is warmest.

  3. Nice post Amanda. Congrats on keeping it going over the winter. I think its sometimes more challenging to continue running this time of year as my body wants to go into hibernation mode. So getting motivated is usually my biggest issue.

    Even though its not as cold here in NC we do need an extra layer or two, gloves and hats through most of the winter months. To compliment your gear list, I’ve found the Mizuno windshell gloves ( to be perfect for temps around 30-45 degrees. I also like the Mizuno hat ( as well.

    During a recent race I found a new vendor Nite Beams ( that sells various LED lighted bands to wear on arms and legs. These are good options if you need to make yourself visible to other people or cyclists that don’t use headlights. And probably wouldn’t hurt to use along with reflective gear.

    So what half marathons do you have planned for 2012? Maybe I’ll see you at one of them this year…

    1. Ooh I like the Nite Beams. I will keep an eye out for those. I had this tiny flashlight I hooked onto my running jacket but it recently broke.

      I don’t know what I am going to do. I think I am going to do that all women’s one again in April and I am doing the Tough Mudder in May. I would like another Fall half. Any suggestions? I LOVE the Disney one. They moved it to November. I could be persuaded to try another one though 🙂 What do you have on your schedule?

      1. I’ve got some 5k’s, 10k’s and mud runs planned but not sure about my next half. I’ll probably try to find one for late spring or summer. In the fall I’ll do the Thunder Road half here in Charlotte. Come on down!

        I keep hearing good things about the Disney races. Maybe I’ll check that out this year too.

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