Guest Post – Winter Running

Hi!  I’m Carly from Tri-ing My Hardest.  First off, thank you to Leslie for this awesome opportunity.  I hope she’s having a blast on her cruise!

As you could maybe guess from my blog’s name, I’m a triathlete.  I really like the challenge of swimming, biking, and running in combination.  However, once winter comes, triathlon training goes into hibernation.  I do try to keep up on the running.  And while I may not be an expert on running, I am an expert on the winter months.  Growing up in New England, and currently living in Maine, I’ve learned a thing or two about braving the colder months.  So today I plan to impart my winter running wisdom on to you.

Many fair weather runners think that winter running is for hardcore athletes.  Let me tell you, I am no hardcore athlete and I run through the winter.  With the right gear and the right mindset, you can do it.  It’s all about layering and being smart.  Let’s start with the gear.  The rule of thumb here is to dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than it actually is outside.  You don’t want to overheat!

On my feet:  I wear my normal running shoes and my Drymax winter socks.  This combo is pretty effective at keeping the toes comfortable.  If you live in a particularly icy area, I recommend investing in some Yak Traks to increase traction.


On my legs:  Running tights are key here.  Do yourself a favor and invest in some decent running tights made for colder weather.  I have a pair made by Reebok and a pair by Under Armor.  Both are equally effective.  You can then layer under or over them to keep your tush warm.  That might sound silly, but it’s the one part of me that almost always gets cold.

On my body:  I find that keeping my core warm is key.  Generally I like to wear a tight long sleeve tech shirt as a base layer.  Technical fabrics will keep you warm by wicking the sweat away from your body.  It really does make a difference in the colder months.  Then I put a t-shirt over the base layer.  If the weather is mild, I might stop there or I’ll toss a fleece vest over the base layers.  If it’s below about 30 degrees, I’ll put a fleece jacket.  I like having layers with pockets to carry my iPod, a cell phone or ID (I’m not cool enough for a Road ID.  Although, if they’d like to send one for me to test, I’d be happy to try it out).  Having pockets that zip is an extra bonus so your stuff stays put.


On my hands:  Cheap gloves from the drugstore do the trick for me.  Once I get warmed up, I don’t need much more that the thin gloves.  If it’s windy, I have a thicker pair of fleece gloves.  The pair I have clip together and you can then clip them to a fuel belt or a zipper so you don’t lose them or have to carry them when you take them off.


On my head:  I’m lost without my music when running.  Last year for Christmas I got earmuffs with headphones built in.  An iPod or other mp3 player plugs right in and your ears will stay warm while you enjoy your music.  A headband or a hat will also work.  Personally, I don’t like my head to overheat, so I stick with something that just covers the ears.

A post on winter running wouldn’t be complete with a note about safety.  While I love winter running, I don’t run while it’s snowing or before the roads have been cleared.  I try to wait until the plows have come around and I also try to stay in an area with minimal traffic if possible.  Sometimes the sidewalks become icy because they are poorly cleared and extra caution should be taken.  My best advice is to be extra careful and wear bright colors so you stick out against the snow.

Winter does not mean that you have to limit yourself to the treadmill.  You can get out there and enjoy some sunny winter days.  I wish you all happy trails through the winter months!

What are some of your best tips for Winter running? Do you run less in the cold winter months?

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  • Reply Cate December 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I have never run in cold weather before (it is my first year really running) and was curious as to what to wear.

  • Reply Coach Joe December 17, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Nice article!! We run all winter and LOVE it. Some days we need to deal with snow and ice. Using Yaktrax has been great. Let's us run without concern for falling, slipping and changing our run form. Best $30 investment for winter running.

  • Reply Running Librarian December 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Great tips! It always takes me a few runs in the winter to get the right layers to run in so I am not too cold or too warm.

  • Reply Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) December 19, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Great tips! I am totally a fair weather runner but I've been hoping to get more into outdoor winter running this year!

  • Reply patty O December 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I'm a walker and I too have to build my layers before going outside into the cold. Thanks for the tips, it's a trial and error at first and also depends on the weather for that day!

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