How to Prepare for Cold Weather Running

It has that time of year again!  The time when you open up your blinds in the morning to find frost or snow.  We have officially entered cold weather running season…dun dun dun!  Now I know the winter months are different depending on where you live, but here in New England it can get quite chilly.

Let’s take a look at some things to keep in mind when dressing to get those frosty outdoor miles in.

Proper Foot Wear:

The last thing you want to do is head out the door and immediately onto your butt!  Now I am not saying that you need to go out running in your snow boots, but traction is definitely something to consider.

Let’s take a look at your lugs (indentation and pattern on the bottom of the shoe)!  The deeper the lugs, the more traction that you are going to have on the show and ice.

There are also many companies now what sell spikes that can be worn over your running shoes.  While there are lots of options for spikes, it is always worth checking out Yaktrax.  Coach Kelly is a tried and true believer in Yaktrax, even for super snowy New Hampshire winters.  It is not recommended to wear spikes if there are extended stretches of exposed pavement on your run.  In that case you want to use your typical running shoes.


While running keeps our major muscle groups warm, it doesn’t do much in the way of warming our extremities!  Running in the winter is a fine balance when it comes to headgear, too much and you could overheat, too little and your ears will fall off!

I find that I prefer to run with a headband vs. a head covering because I have hair and tend to overheat.  There are a ton of options when it comes to headbands, Trailheads is a company that has a wide variety of headwear options and is highly rated.  We also really like Skida, which has a wide variety of hats and headbands with different levels of insulation.

I personally have issues running with a skull cap/beanie because it slips on my hair, however they are very popular with male runners as they often don’t have the extra insolation of thick hair.


Gloves are essential in having a successful cold weather run!  When we are cold, our bodies redistribute blood to our torso to help warm our vital organs, leaving our hands to fend for themselves.  It is important for us to protect them.  When looking for gloves you want to find a pair that are lightweight and breathable, while still offering the protection your hands need.

New Balance sells a highly rated pair of running gloves that are light weight, breathable and wick the moisture away from your skin.  Don’t worry! They also have the touch tip fingers for your mid-run selfies.  There are also great running gloves and mittens for a variety of temperatures from Oiselle.

Run tights:

Shorts season is over for most cold weather runners, although there are always those crazies that run in shorts all year long!  It’s time to break out the run tights.  When choosing a pair of cold weather run tights, there are a few key things to look for:

  • Breathability
  • Warmth
  • Moisture wicking
  • Light weight
  • Reflective Detailing

I am a fan of Under Armour’s Cold Gear collection.  To me, it hits all the marks and as an added bonus, I am not having to spend time adjusting my clothes the entire run.


The saying it is better to have something and not need it, than need it and not have it comes to mind when I think of dressing for a run.  We can always remove layers, but we can’t add what we don’t have!

The key is to have a good base layer.  Something that is warm and light weight.  We always want our materials to be moisture wicking, because a wet runner is a cold and unhappy runner.  I am going to again recommend Under Armour’s Heatgear collection for winter running.

I will wear my base layer with a light jacket over it.  When and if I become warm, I can remove the jacket and tie is around my waist. Easy Peasy!  Another option is to wear a zip top over your base layer that can be unzipped to the appropriate length you need to cool your core.  Many runners will utilize a vest over their base layer to help with keeping their core warm.


I cannot stress the importance of this enough!  It is getting darker quicker, and staying darker longer.  This is HUGE when it comes to running in the Winter months.

Ways to make sure you are visable:

  • Reflective details on clothing, gloves and shoes
  • Headlamp
  • LED Safety lights
  • Lighted or florescent Run vest

Now there are MANY different brands and options when it comes to bundling up for your outdoor adventures.  The key is to find what works for you.  Each runner is their own person with their own needs.  Take the time to do the research before pulling out your credit card.  Just because something is $$$ does not mean that it is worth the price.

Happy Cold Weather Running!!

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