The Newbie Perspective on How to Survive Winter Running

I live in Canada so I have to deal with all 4 seasons in all their glory! Summer is fairly easy, temps never get too high, all you have to worry about is fog. Spring and Fall are generally great running weather. The Winter is the problem – the cold, the snow, and the lack of daylight. It can be hard to find motivation in those early morning hours when it’s freezing outside and all you want to do is crawl back into a warm bed. I figured since this is my first Winter running outside, I could share some of the things that get me out on the roads in the bitter temperatures.


1. Lay Out Clothes The Night Before – When you are up that early I find that having to operate my brain enough to pick out clothes is near impossible. If you plan to run at lunchtime or in the evening then having them ready to go with you out the door makes it more likely you’ll make it happen! It is much easier to have all the layers laid out at a quick reach then have to search around for them. Easy = the key to motivation!




2. Layer, Layer, and Layer Some More – Invest in a good set of base layers, that way you can turn some of your Spring and Fall running clothes into winter ones. I throw on my base layers under my LuLu Astro pants and a long sleeved running shirt and it’s instant warmth. I just ordered some Winter running tights (Run for it Tights from LuLu) for Winter running. I’ll review them once I have them but I am sure they will keep my legs warm. I also always wear gloves, thick socks, and either a headband or hat. Warm clothes are key to staying toasty warm and comfortable, which is important during the winter.


3. Training Plans & Goals – I love a good running plan and I also love a running goal. Nothing creates motivation like signing up for a Spring race. You have a reason for braving the chilly temps and darkness when you have a race to train for! My first race this year will be a Spring 5K and my goal is to PR. My main goal for this year is the half-marathon so I have to stay on track, it makes getting out in the cold a little easier.


4. Heat Em’ Up – Just need a little warmth to get out the door? Toss your clothes in the dryer for ten minutes before heading out the door. The heat fades quickly, however, by the time it’s gone you should be nice and warmed up from running. It’s just enough to get you comfortable and get you out there! I find after 5 minutes of being outside anyways I am usually nice and warm the heat just helps get you out there.


5. Be Flexible – Some days you may need to move around your run because of weather. It could be a snowstorm or temps too low to be safe for running in. If there is a lot of black ice around I usually won’t risk it either because I don’t have ice safe shoes. This time of year I am constantly checking the weather to adjust my schedule based on the potential best weather for running. For example, today I woke up to freezing temps and rain, a potential icy and dangerous situation. I checked the weekend weather and it called for sun and above zero temps all weekend. So I took today as a rest day and will run all weekend. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but for those who work maximizing the daylight on the weekend is so important. For the rest of the winter unless I have something going on the weekend I will be moving my rest day to a weeknight, flexibility is necessary! Sometimes you need to move things around or hit the dreadmill. Just look at it as an opportunity to switch things up!  Perhaps even try a little cross-training? Always remember that safety comes first and of course spring is just around the corner! Smile


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How do you stay motivated during winter?

Any winter running tips for me?

Do you have any non-slip things attached to your sneakers? Recommend them?

4 thoughts on “The Newbie Perspective on How to Survive Winter Running

  1. Great tips. We’ve had a pretty weak winter thus far – I’m in Ontario! Canadian buds 🙂 yay!

    this is my first winter running though. I have a treadmill, so that’s nice but I have found that my fingers get the most cold on runs, even with gloves…I guess I need better ones. I also really had a hard time with all the ice! I had to run on the road and cars seem to hate that lol

    • I love to meet fellow Canadian bloggers!! 🙂

      I find my fingers are cold at first but warm up as a I run, not sure what that’s about. Lol I also have issues with dodging ice I have become really good at jumping over it haha. I find I run further out on the road as well so I try and find more deserted areas so I don’t anger drivers as much!

  2. I’m below you guys in Michigan, lower peninsula. I’m not a huge runner, but I started..maybe two years ago, just to lose weight. I’m finding right now, that I’m missing running out doors. I just like it better than a treadmill!! I’m hoping to run my first 5k, sometime this year, so I’m feeling that I need to keep up running (instead of basically taking winter off), so these tips are great for me, since I have never run outside in the winter!

    • Running outside is so much better then the treadmill, I used to love the treadmill but once I got used to running outside that was it! I ran my first 5k last year, good luck training for yours I am sure you will get addicted to racing like I did. I am training for my first half-marathon now. 🙂

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