8 Tips For Outdoor Winter Running

Learn how you can continue running as it gets colder outside with these outdoor Winter running tips.

Are you an outdoor Winter runner? Then make sure you heed these tips for a safe and healthy run.  #runner #outdoorwinterrunner #winterrunning #winterseason #run #runnersworld #runnerscommunity #blackgirlsrun #bgr

Some people think of running as a fair-weather sport and hang up their running shoes in the winter. I love running in the fall and winter.

Living in Chicago, it can be no small feat, but if you have the right gear and some cold weather parameters, you can safely run all winter long.

Here are my tips for winter running. 

Invest in some quality outdoor winter running gear!

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If you live in a cold weather city, like I do, getting some winter running gear is imperative. I recommend tights, insulated tights, merino wool base layer long sleeve, a warm running jacket, gloves with wind guards, a hat and merino wool or thermal running socks. Some excellent brands for winter gear are Craft, Icebreaker, Smartwool and Sugoi.

Check the temps and dress accordingly.

It’s easy to forget year to year, but when running, you need to dress for temps that are 15 – 20 degrees warmer than the actual air temperature. What does this mean? If the thermometer reads 40 degrees, you should dress like it’s 60. You warm up a lot once you get moving. One caveat here in Chicago is the wind. If it’s very windy, I usually dress warmer.

Wear layers.

If you start before the sun or when it’s chilly, wear layers so that you can remove the outer layer if you warm up. Remember to wear a thin base layer in a material like merino wool or something sweat wicking so you don’t feel cold and wet! If it’s very windy or cold, also consider a wind-proof layer on the outside.

Wear bright colors or clothes with reflective materials.

It’s darker in the morning and late afternoon in the fall and winter. Make sure you can be seen with bright colors, reflectors or even a head lamp. 

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Don’t forget running gloves and a warm running hat.

Body heat escapes through your head, hands and feet. When it’s cold, I like to wear gloves and take them off if I heat up. It’s a simple way to regulate your temperature!

Start running after the sun comes up.

Sun makes the run warmer and just nicer! If you can wait and start a bit later or run at lunch time, that helps in the cooler weather.

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Find a running buddy.

Getting out when it’s cold and dark is tough. If you have a friend waiting for you, you’re likely to make meeting him/her a priority. Also, if it’s dark, it’s safer to run with a buddy and, of course, it’s more fun!

Make a back-up plan.

If the temperatures are too cold (for me, that’s below 0 ambient) or if the roads are icy, consider a treadmill work out. I like to do intervals on the treadmill to work on my speed and to keep the treadmill from boring me.

There are a lot of great ideas for workouts on the internet. One simple one that I like is warm up (1 mile), start at base pace and then add .2 mph for 1 minute for 5 minutes and then go back to base pace.

Repeat 3 – 5 times.


Follow these tips and you can run happily all winter long!

Do you participate in Winter running?  What tips would you add to the list?

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Erica Agran is an avid runner in Chicago, IL. She’s run 48 marathons and over 400 road races in the last 20+ years. Erica’s the blogger behind Erica Finds (ericafinds.com). She “finds” the best health and fitness products, events, races and things for people on the go.

You can keep up with Erica on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, too. 

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