winter running with family
24 February 2021 (updated)

Cool Runnings: Winter Running Tips and Gear

Winter may be the time for comfort food and keeping warm, but it can also be a great time for fitness. With the right winter running tips, you and your family can stay active during the cold season!

We love hiking and biking, but there's nothing quite like grabbing a long sleeve shirt, jacket, warm socks, and hitting the ground running-- even when it's cold! It can be more difficult to get out in the winter months, but unless it's really freezing, you don't have to stick with workouts inside on the treadmill. If you want to stay the course through the colder months, there are plenty of ways you can keep yourself warm. From the right gear to a pre-workout warm-up, here’s how to beat the sub-zero temperatures during your runs.

What Gear Do You Need for Winter Running?

If you want to stay warm during your winter run when there's snow outside, you've got to invest in some cold-weather gear. But even if it's freezing outside, you'll work up a sweat during your runs, so choosing breathable layers will be key to staying comfortable throughout.

Several runners like to use three layers to keep their body warm, depending on how cold it is. This will include a base layer, an insulating layer, and a windproof winter running jacket.

Tights are probably the most important part of your base layer since they're your legs' only defense against the cold. Your tights need to be warm enough to keep you cozy but not so warm that you'll overheat.

Socks are another key component to building your base. High-quality socks that are moisture-resistant or waterproof will provide wonderful protection for your feet during the cold weather temperatures. That way, if you sweat, you won't have to worry about it freezing your toes. If it's really cold, you could even include boot warmers as part of your gear.

When you're choosing a shirt, you might want to layer with a short-sleeve shirt in case you really get hot, but more than likely, you'll just need a long-sleeve layer you can wear for extra insulation. If it's a wet winter day, you might want to pick fabrics like polyester over cotton.

What Else Do You Wear for Winter Running?

Above your long sleeve shirt, wear a windbreaker or a running fleece, which will keep you warm without overheating you. Many runners also depend on gloves to protect their hands and beanies to warm their heads. Other hats can keep you warm, but beanies are really easy to take off and put in your jacket if it gets too hot. Running headbands are another great option for the same reason.

When it comes to a cold-weather exercise, remember that cloth with wicking properties is your best friend. It’s also important to keep your extremities warm, so protect your hands and protect your head! A pair of waterproof winter running gloves and a running headband should do the trick.

Winter Running 101

Now that you know what gear to get, are you ready to grab your long sleeve shirt and hit the trails? Here are a few extra things to remember.


Runners often have to alter their approach to training and mileage during the cold weather months, so they stay safe while also getting a good workout. Consider the extra elements, including potential ice and extra wind, when you're running.


Also, like other times of the year, be sure to warm up before you go. You want to keep your body warm and limber, so it's easier to maintain your pace throughout the workout. 


An active warm-up with dynamic stretching and extra exercises to keep your blood pumping is a great way to kick off your workout. Consider jogging slowly for a few minutes to get the blood flowing. Then, do a couple of bodyweight squats, hamstring stretches, and jumping jacks to get everything moving. Don't forget the cooldown on the other side of the run. 

Extra Winter Running Tips

Beyond the winter running gear and warmup, here are a few extra things you can do to be safe and enjoy cold-weather exercise in winter. The following tips will help you start an exercise regimen that will last into summer. And be sure to share them with fellow runners on FamilyApp!

  • Take your cell phone and a bit of cash in case you need transportation to get home safely. You can also use your phone to track your distance with apps like Strava.
  • Try running in a loop, so you’re never too far away from your destination.
  • Hydrate before you run and take a water bottle if you’re running longer than 45 minutes.
  • Shower and change into a quick change of clothes after you run to keep your body temperature up.
  • Shorten your stride when you’re running on the ice to prevent spills and accidents
  • Wear ice grips on your shoes for DIY winter running shoes. If you live in a colder climate, you might want to invest in high-quality winter running shoes.
  • If you’re out at night, wear reflective gear and a headlight for added safety.
  • On especially cold days, you might want to consider indoor cross-training with weights, stretching, or other forms of HIIT. Or, stick with a treadmill if you have access to one.

By slowing it down and being prepared for winter conditions, like ice and snow, you can get a great workout, even in the cold. Do you have any winter running tips? Whether you reward yourself or get the gear, there are many ways to make a winter run work for you.



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