Winter Running Tips


It’s mid-November and starting to cool off so winter running seems to be on everyone’s mind. For the first couple years that I ran I wouldn’t run outside once it dipped below 10C but when I moved back to Toronto in 2011, I decided that I was going to run all winter. I went out and bought the necessary gear and haven’t looked back.IMG_0895
Until last winter I had never seriously trained during the winter and I choose quite a winter to decide to do it for the first time. The picture above is after running 6km at -15C before the wind chill. That’s the kind of cold that no amount of clothing really protects you from.

It was a brutal winter to say the least but I had to go out because I had to run, I was training for my first 50k. I learned a lot from running 5 days a week all winter and my fingers are crossed that this winter isn’t nearly as bad!

Here are my best winter running tips:

  • Run at the warmest part of the day if you can. It gets dark early in the winter and everything seems a lot colder in the dark. I usually try to run during my lunch break or right after work.
  • Be flexible with your mileage. No matter the weather (snow storm or freezing temps) I still go out but I might not stay out for hours on end like I do when it’s warmer out. A couple times last winter I even did 10k loops and came home to change into warm, dry clothes after each 10k. It worked but it’s also one way to make a lot of laundry!
  • Forget your pace. I know that lots of people try hard to run at a specific pace but hitting those paces when it’s really cold is a lot harder. During the winter I run mostly by my heart rate because slogging through snow and slush is a lot more physically demanding than clean sidewalks or trails.
  • Don’t wear too much clothing. This is one that I have a lot of trouble with, I don’t like being cold. The trouble is that if you aren’t cold to start then you are going to end up being really warm once you start running and when your sweat starts freezing you’re in trouble.
  • Enjoy being outside! Remember that most people that you know won’t get to experience being outside that much for months. I try to remember how lucky I am to get to spend my time outdoors in all the weather, not just the nice weather.

I’m going to do another post on winter running clothes, watch for it!

What are your winter running tips?

Happy running


6 thoughts on “Winter Running Tips

  1. Stewthebassman (@Stewthebassman) November 14, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    Drill drywall screws into a dedicated pair of “bad weather shoes”. Slipping is a nasty way to ruin your season. Run into the wind out and tailwind it back. Don’t be afraid to use a treadmill for intervals. Run with friends if possible, on weekends, you forget the cold! Wear shoes with plenty of toeroom for warmth. Protect the skin on your face and nose in cold, cold weather.


    Travel to Florida and run there!!!

    • KatherineRunsUltras November 14, 2015 / 7:54 pm

      I like the second option a lot better but I think I’m stuck using those tips from the first option for most the winter!

  2. Kevin November 14, 2015 / 5:17 pm

    It definitely is winter here too. Time to find all the winter gear again. Have fun on those cold runs

  3. janerunswild November 14, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    Thank you for this post! I’d prefer running in the cold than the heat– you just have to prepare adequately! Wearing the right clothing is best, and when you wear the right gear the cold isn’t a factor. Happy winter running!

    • KatherineRunsUltras November 14, 2015 / 7:55 pm

      I sometimes like the winter running better than the summer too. Being dressed properly definitely makes a big difference! Enjoy the winter!

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