7 Tips For Running In The Cold, If You're Brave Enough To Venture Outside

by Georgina Berbari

If you have a friend who's obsessed with running, you know there's basically no weather condition too severe to keep her from lacing up her sneakers and pounding that pavement. If you are that friend, you've probably endured your fair share of frozen toes, aching earlobes, and slippery surfaces in the name of running. Whether you're a diehard runner or not, a season filled with snow is currently upon us, and when you're trying to keep up with your cardio, indoor machines get real boring, real fast. That's why it's crucial to have some tips for running in the cold hidden up your heavily-layered sleeves when it comes time to go for a jog in less than ideal weather conditions.

Let's be real: Running is hard enough even when the temperatures are practically perfect, but when winter rolls around, the simplest of cardio sessions can become challenging AF. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to stay indoors all season and be a slave to the "dreadmill."

The next time the forecast is looking frigid, and you work up the courage to run outdoors, here are seven tips to keep you comfortable and safe as you take on the icy tundra head-on — or, feet-on, I guess.

Bundle The F*ck Up

Making sure that you're wearing warm clothing is a no-brainer if you're going for a winter jog. However, there are a few specific rules that you'll want to follow to keep your entire body as cozy as can be.

For starters, make sure that you're layering up with synthetic fabrics to keep brutal winds from piercing through your athletic attire. Keep your face, your hands, and the top of your head covered with a scarf, gloves, and a nice warm beanie.

Oh, and you're going to want to throw the fear of looking ridiculous or over-the-top in all those layers out the window. Face masks are your new BFF, girlfriend.

Always Warm Up Before You Run

Your joints might feel extra stiff in the winter months, so warming up before your run is a good way to prevent any injuries from happening.

Move through a few dynamic stretches, and maybe even do a bit of foam-rolling when the forecast calls for aggressively chilly temps outside. This way, your body has a chance to ease into those less than ideal conditions.

Invest In Anti-Slip Gear

Yaktrax® Run, $40, Yaktrax

If you're brave enough to pound the pavement when there's snow on the ground, kudos to you. But you'll definitely have to take some extra, precautionary measures to ensure that you don't slip and suffer a gnarly injury.

Yaktrax makes a traction device that you can attach to your beloved sneaks. This bad boy will allow you to safely navigate everything outside, from black ice to packed snow patches. Seriously, this thing is a lifesaver for wintertime runs.

Surrender The Need For Speed

If you've ever attempted to run outdoors when it's cold AF, you know that the faster you try to move, the harder it is to avoid heavily breathing in cold air that feels like it's legitimately puncturing your lungs.

To avoid this, keep your pace casual overall. A good way to measure how fast you're going is by making sure you'd be able to hold a conversation while you're running without keeling over. (Yes, this might mean talking to yourself if you run alone, but hey, it's winter, which means no one's outside besides you, and that means no one is looking at you.)

Also, according to Runner's World, your winter runs should be looked at more as maintenance runs, rather than intense races, or a time to break your personal record. Take it slow, girl.

Change Into Warm Clothing ASAP When You're Done

When you're running in freezing cold weather, you might actually forget just how cold it really is because of how quickly you warm up and start sweating once you get into the rhythm of your jog. However, when you stop running, your body temperature will go back to normal really quickly, and the sweat that you built up will become frigidly damp.

Make sure a change of clothes is at the ready after your final mile, and maybe even have a warm cup of coffee or tea waiting for you as a reward for your hard work.

Stay Hydrated

It's easy to forget to hydrate during winter runs because, well, maybe you're barely sweating because it's too chilly outside, and winter weather conditions in general don't exactly make you want to chug a nice cold bottle of H2O, you know?

I hate to break it to you, but it's just as important to stay hydrated in the dry winter as it is when you're profusely sweating in July. Spread your water intake out throughout the day to make sure you're giving your body what it needs.

Be Flexible With Your Workout Schedule

Try not to be too rigid about your workout routine in the winter, especially if you're following a training schedule for an upcoming race. When winter conditions are less than optimal, you can always adjust your schedule so that your run falls on a day with more bearable temperatures and safer terrain.

For real, your safety and well-being always comes first, and flexibility is key when the forecast is being a real b*tch.