Skip to main content

How to Run in Cold Weather

Don't let frigid temperatures keep you from your regular run. If you're properly prepared, you'll be fine.


  • : Not dressing properly for cold weather can lead to hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Step 1: Wear the right fabrics Wear clothing made of fabric that wicks moisture away from your body, like polypropylene. Avoid cotton, which holds onto moisture. Fleece hats and gloves or mittens are a good choice because they allow skin to breathe, preventing your scalp and hands from getting too sweaty.
  • Step 2: Lay it on thick If the temperature is between 0 and 20 Fahrenheit, wear two or three tops under a windproof jacket, wind pants over insulated tights, and a hat and gloves. If it dips below 0, add another top, another bottom, a pair of glove liners or an extra pair of mittens, and wrap a scarf around your mouth.
  • TIP: Don't make the mistake of overdressing – a good general rule is to dress for 20 degrees higher than the temperature because you warm up while running.
  • Step 3: Protect your feet Wear running shoes with Gore-Tex uppers – they'll keep out any wetness – and thick socks made of anything but cotton, which can cause blisters by absorbing moisture.
  • TIP: Men should cover their nipples with ointment or bandages to prevent chafing. Women are protected by sports bras.
  • Step 4: Warm up inside Before you head outside, do something inside that gets your blood flowing but doesn't make you sweat, like walking up and down the stairs a few times.
  • Step 5: Run like the wind If wind is a factor, start out running into the bluster and end your run with the wind at your back. That way, the wind won't give you a chill after you've worked up a sweat.
  • Step 6: Divide and conquer On extremely cold days, consider dividing your normal run into two sessions so you're not outdoors as long.
  • Step 7: Beware of black ice Beware of roads that look wet but may, in fact, be covered with ice.
  • Step 8: Be a quick-change artist Change out of sweaty clothes as quickly as you can after your run so you don't get the chills.
  • FACT: Unprotected skin starts to freeze at 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

You Will Need

  • Layers
  • A windproof jacket
  • Insulated tights
  • A hat
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Running shoes with Gore-Tex uppers
  • Thick noncotton socks
  • Vaseline or bandages (optional)

Popular Categories