Running in winter conditions [TIPS & TRICKS]

The winter is approaching in the northern hemisphere and athletes have to face cold and slippery conditions outside. Runner's might not be as much affected by it than cyclists but, nevertheless, runners should consider a couple of things as well to get safe through the winter. Here are my three main points to consider running in winter conditions:

Tip #1 - The right apparel is key

There's a common saying amongst outdoor athletes which states that "there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing". Especially in winter, the right apparel is essential. You should keep your body warm, but not too hot at the same time. 37 °C would be perfect to deliver the full performance potential. The colder it gets outside, the more layers are recommended. Between each layer, there will be a layer of air, which is doubtless the best insulator you can ask for. The outer layer should preferably be windproof and at least water-repellent. When layering up, keep in mind, that you'll warm up once you start moving. Overheating underneath all the layers is not favourable either. I rather recommend one layer less and a little bit of shivering before you start. With the first layer being X-Bionic you'd also profit from the unique thermo-regulating technologies, which help to maintain the optimal body core temperature.

I suggest to experiment with different layering and apparel combinations and find your most comfortable combinations for various conditions. Very important: don't forget about your feet, fingers and face! Cover them up as much as possible, especially when it's freezing outside.

Tip #2 - Gear up

Winter always means that the days are shorter. This results in many runs in dark conditions, no matter whether in the morning or in the evening. Safety should be a high priority! Make sure to wear bright apparel with reflectors and purchase a headlight. Not only, that the headlight will enable you to see better, but especially that cars drivers and cyclists can spot you a lot earlier. Additionally, roads, boardwalks or paths can be slippery. Rather invest in running shoes with better traction, like trail running shoes, than investing this money in hospital holidays afterwards.

Tip #3 - Make adjustments

Be smart and adjust your training to the conditions outside! Despite the slippery surfaces, the freezing cold air stresses your lunges and heart more than normally. Therefore, I suggest decreasing the intensity of your training. Plan your routes carefully depending on the snow and ice conditions. Another common possibility is to run on the treadmill. If you rather stay outside, be creative and look out for a preferably empty car park without snow and ice.

About the author

FloRuns is an avid runner with a marathon PB of 2:37:12h. Though, having lived in Cape Town and now based in Switzerland he get's to enjoy running on scenic mountain trails often as well. Throughout his short running career, he already discovered several cities and countries, including Iten/Kenya. Whether running in freezing conditions in Europe, the altitude in Kenya or the blistering heat in South Africa, FloRuns experienced many different weather conditions already and found the right apparel combinations for each one of them.