Five Tips for Cold Weather Running (From a Minnesotan)

As much as I would have liked fall running weather to continue a little bit longer, winter is officially on it’s way to the Twin Cities. Or it’s already here because as I’m writing this post it is in the mid-20s and there’s a decent layer of snow on the ground. So grab your mug of peppermint mocha (or other seasonal drink of choice) and read on for some cold weather running tips from a Minnesotan!

Dress in Layers

Layering is the easiest way to keep, but not hot, during the winter and cold weather running. For me, this usually means wearing a long sleeved shirt under my running jacket (bonus points for thumbs holes since then my hands are kept warmer) and when it gets extra cold outside, wearing two pairs of gloves. But yes, I’m switching over to the mitten train for my outer pair this year.

Check out my post from 2017 on how I dress to run in a Minnesota winter, layer by layer!

Warming Up

Warming up before a run is so important during the winter. You do not want to be going out for speedwork (if the paths are safe enough) or a long run on cold muscles, especially if you have to drive to your location. During the winter, I warm up either inside the apartment or apartment gym when I’m running from home or I’ll add on an extra layer if I need to do my warm up outside (and store it in my car before heading out on my run).

Check out my quick five minute pre-run warm up routine that will help get you ready to run year round!

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Know When To Hit The Treadmill

Between it getting darker outside earlier, cold temperatures and icy paths, sometimes it just isn’t safe to hit the treadmill. I’m already looking at taking my interval runs inside now that the sun is setting around 5 p.m. because running at that pace with my headlamp just won’t be comfortable. Treadmill running isn’t as enjoyable (for me at least) as running outside but by keeping safe, you can keep running injury free through the winter and be ready for spring races.

Check out my tips for treadmill running after I hit the treadmill for a 20 mile training run for the Eau Claire Marathon!

Warm Up Before Stretching Post-Run

Especially once we get into January or February, I get cold quickly after I’m done with my runs. Instead of trying to stretch and foam roll cold muscles (not a good idea!), I warm myself up again before. This might mean getting some light cardio time or hitting the sauna in at the gym or taking a shower as soon as I get home. This will help your muscles be ready to stretch and can avoid injuries from stretching muscles that aren’t prepared for it.

Check out why I love spending time in the sauna post-run!

Hydration Is Still Important

Don’t think that since it’s cold outside and you don’t feel thirsty, that you don’t need to drink water. It might be a pain since you have to carry it and you don’t want to drink something cold when it’s below freezing. You don’t need as much as during the summer but don’t skip it all together.

Check out my tips for how I carried water while training for a spring marathon (during a Minnesota winter)!

Have you started getting into cold weather running where you are? Share what cold weather is to you and your tips in the comments!


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