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The Basics of Running in the Winter for Beginners

Training and running during the winter can be a difficult feat. Here’s how to prepare.
Matt Thompson Nov 13, 2019
While running during the summer may be enjoyable, time to catch-up with friends, and log those miles, winter running is often left to the dedicated few. With the low temperatures, high winds, and occasional snowfall, it’s no wonder the vast majority of people hang up the laces, head indoors, and begin a Netflix binge.
However, you don’t have to be that person! As much as you want to watch friends for the twelfth time through, I’m sure we both can agree that running is the more productive and *cough* fun option! This story discusses the basics to running in the winter for beginners, from wearing the right gear to warming up, here’s what you need to know.

Investing in the Right Gear

Winter training and running are a make or break depending on the running gear you have available. If you only have a couple of pairs of shorts and a short-sleeved top, chances are you’re not going to go running - we wouldn’t blame you either.
Therefore, we recommend investing in some warm and reflective winter running gear. While you don’t need loads of kit, these are the bare essentials:
  • A pair of running gloves
  • Running tights
  • A couple of long-sleeved running tops
  • A waterproof running jacket
  • A three-quarter zip running top
This should be plenty to get you going. You can always switch out the running waterproof for a waterproof you already own, likewise for any base layers (you can use short-sleeved t-shirts for this). However, one of the more important pieces of kit, especially when running at night is a headtorch.
Check out Running101’s story on seven of the best head torches for running, there’s plenty to choose from! A headtorch will not only allow you to see where you’re going, but you’ll also remain visible to other road users – increasing your overall visibility and safety.

Be Sure to Properly Warm Up

Leave the static stretches for after your run and instead undergo a few dynamic stretches before starting, no matter your planned session and or run. We’ve listed a few dynamic stretches for you to try below:
  • Walking lunges (can add in a twist)
  • Leg swings
  • Hip circles
  • Jog to quad stretch
Warming up before your run will increase blood flow to the working muscles, reducing our risk of injury and most importantly getting us warm! There’s nothing worse than shivering your way through a ten-mile run believe us.

Opt for Treadmill

As much as we hate to say it, there’s going to be those days when it’s best to opt for the treadmill. Whether it’s too cold, too icy/slippy, or deep in snow, the treadmill is a godsend. Besides, you can still get an intense workout indoors on the treadmill, whether this is in your garage or a short drive to the gym.

Check the Weather Forecast

Yes, I know it sounds simple. However, checking the weather forecast before your run is a great way to avoid those cold showers, a snowstorm, or extreme wind. Remain cautious at all times, and if in doubt opt for an intense run on the treadmill or a short home workout - you’ll thank us later.
Likewise, checking the weather forecast allows you to dress appropriately. If you’re expecting a rain shower mid-run, pack your raincoat, if it’s a surprisingly nice day, wear fewer base layers.

The Bottom Line

Running in the winter is no easy feat. We recommend following the tips outlined in this story to get started. Be sure to remain cautious at all times, wrap up warm, and if in doubt opt for the treadmill.