Tips for Running in Cold Weather

tips-running-cold-585We may have our sights set on spring, but no matter how much I will warmer running weather to come my way, the mornings are still brrr-inducing. Guessing that I’m not alone in my running-in-the-cold reality, we thought we’d—with the help of the fitness experts at Life Fitness—share some easy tips for running in cold weather. Read on for how to properly bundle up before that winter run!

Tips for Running in the Cold

You don’t have to skip your outdoor cardio workouts when the winter weather blows in—but you do have to dress appropriately. Try this multi-layer system to stay comfortable during most cold-weather workouts.

Inner Layer: The fabric next to your skin should be lightweight, snug-fitting and able to wick perspiration. Check out sporting goods stores for undershirts made of synthetics or acrylic designed for this purpose. Avoid cotton, which absorbs moisture, stays wet and clings to your skin. Brrr!

Middle Layer: This is the insulation layer, which should also wick moisture and provide warmth. Choose a slightly thicker fabric that fits loosely over your inner layer to trap the air warmed by exercise-generated heat. Fabrics like micro fleece and thermal work well.

Outer Layer: Like a protective shell, this layer shields you from wind, rain and snow. Try a nylon jacket or a wind jacket made of waterproof material. Hooded jackets are nice for protecting your head from the elements, as well.

Pants: On colder days, layer nylon tights or leggings under your pants to insulate your legs. If it’s raining or snowing, choose tights or running pants made of synthetics that pull moisture away from your skin.

Hat: A hat keeps your body heat from escaping, which will keep you warmer. In fact, at least 40 percent of body heat can be lost through the head. If the weather isn’t terribly frigid but your ears get cold, try an ear band.

thinsulate insolesGloves or Mittens: Again, keeping extremities warm can help keep your whole body warm. Mittens are a great option because your fingers work together to build up heat and keep you the warmest. Disposable hand warmers can be found at most sporting goods stores for those very cold days.

Neck Protection: Scarves, neck-gaiters or a ski mask can really help make you comfortable when the wind-chill is brutal. Bring one along to wrap around your neck.

Socks: Socks are important. Choose socks made of a Dri-Fit or wicking fabric to keep your feet warm and dry; smart wool is also a great option in the winter. Cotton socks will hold sweat, create blisters and possibly cause feet to feel numb.

Feet Warmers: Try toe warmers in your shoes by placing them on the top of your feet, not on the bottom. If you place them under your feet, they can irritate and cause a burning feeling because you constantly place pressure on them as you run or walk. You can also try thermal insoles, like 3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles, that provide a multi-layer barrier to help keep feet warm and dry for activities like camping, hiking, skiing or running. Thermal insoles aren’t cheap (almost $60), but the patented foam in the bottom layer absorbs shock, provides energy return, wicks moisture and includes additional antimicrobial technology to inhibit odor-causing bacteria. Perfect for those with tootsies that get cold fast.

How many winter running warriors do we have out there? What’s in your multi-layer system for running in the cold? —Jenn


Categories: Apparel, Beginner, Fit Journey, Guest Posts, Intermediate, Running, TipsTags: , , , ,

This article was originally published on

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!



Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Don’t forget a scarf or something to cover your nose and mouth with if it’s still bitterly cold. Breathing the cold, dry air while exercising can trigger asthma attacks, possible nose bleeds, and a scratchy throat. wearing a scarf over your nose and mouth is a great way to warm the air before it enters your lungs, and that blast of cold air is what triggers the bronchiospasms, or asthma attacks, in some asthmatics. And breathing through the fabric also humidifies the air, which can cut back on nose bleeds and sore throats.

    Not everyone may need to use one, but for some wearing a scarf is the most important piece of outdoor winter exercise.

    Everything else was pretty spot on though!

  2. First of all, I love the reference to Queen in your blog name.

    I live in MN and follow all of the above advice. I try to do more loops close to my house in the winter. I always misjudge the appropriate level of layers so this allows me to stop home if I need to add or subtract a layer!

  3. I started this day with a morning run, here in cold Norway. It’s a lot of snow and ice outside, but I can run safely with spikes under my shoes. Only minus 1 degree celcius today, not so cold. I love running in the winter, but I’m very much looking forward to spring!

  4. Don’t wear fleece, just don’t. And don’t overload your layers. You’ll be hot within 10 minutes of heading out and the last thing you want is a soaked base layer, soggy mid layer of fleece and damp jacket, regardless of how cold it may be when you’re starting out. You’ll end up overheated in no time and then chilled to the bone when your damp layers freeze up.

  5. Here in Sacramento we don’t need all of that! but in the summer we die from overheating…..soooooo I love winter excercising outdoors on our rivers

  6. Your sharing is helpful for me. In spite of winter, i often run, especially, i like running hill. This one is not easy. Glad to hear this article! Thanks!