How To Run in Cold Weather

How to run efficiently and safely in the freezing temperatures!

Photo: GettyImages

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On the twelfth day of Christmas, Oxygen gave to me…. Ambassador, Marathon Mom and Run RRCA Coach, Bekah Eljoundi gives us words of wisdom on taking the polar plunge and running outside in cold weather!

I used to consider myself a fair weather runner. Any temperatures below 40 degrees would send me inside to run on a treadmill.  That is until I moved to Ohio. I had never lived in a climate that cold before and I knew that it would be a long winter if all I did was train for my marathon inside on a treadmill. So I joined a run group and sought out advice from the midwestern runners on how to handle the frigid winter. This is what I have learned. 

Layers, layers, layers: Layers are your best friend in cold weather. When the temps are 20-39s, I typically will wear a moisture wicking long sleeve base layer and a running jacket with cold weather pants and thick running socks. Any temps under 20 I will add a fleece pullover under my jacket. In the summer there are only so many clothes you can take off to cool down but in the winter you can always add extra layers.

Gloves and Hat/Earwarmers: Covering your extremities are a must as they can tend to go numb in extreme cold.  

Face Mask: Long before the pandemic I wore a face mask when the temperatures hit the teens.  Keeping a face mask on can help keep the air in your lungs warm especially in the first few miles.  

Waterproof/Water-Resistant Jacket: When it is snowing or raining, water-resistant clothing will help keep you dry and warm.  

Friends: Running with friends always makes everything better. Especially in the winter when it’s hard to get out of bed and into the cold. Committing to friends will assure you show up and the miles will fly by with good conversations.  

Running in the cold definitely has its benefits. The temperatures allow you to run faster and train harder without the extra effort of having to cool your body. You also don’t need to hydrate as often as you would in the summer since your body is not losing as many fluids through sweat. If nothing else, you will become a mentally stronger runner while braving the elements.Winter running can be beautiful and rewarding, you just need to give it a chance. 

This story is part of our 12 Days of Gains holiday series! Check out the rest of the series here.