8 Tips for How to Run in Cold Weather

Are you ready for our best tips for cold weather running? Cabin fever is real—especially in cold winter climates when you’re boxed inside all day and night.

Embrace learning how to run in cold weather, and you’ll be ready to hit the pavements or the trails all four seasons of the year.

Regardless of where you live, running is actually the best way to exercise comfortably outside, even in the coldest weather.

Below, we’ll walk you through tips for running in the cold, and how to dress for a variety of temperature conditions.

8 Tips for How to Run in Cold Weather

In fact, the equipment needed for cold weather running is surprisingly minimal, especially compared to other winter sports. Trust me, the fresh air is quite enjoyable once you prep yourself.

Whether you’re looking to refine your outdoor running experience or you’re looking to take it outdoors for the first time, follow these 7 effective tips for running in the cold weather and gain mastery over your running challenges.

1. Download a Weather App

Choose an app that tracks temperature by the hour. Sure, the daytime high could reach a balmy 45 degrees, but it still might be 20 degrees first thing in the morning or after work. You’ll also want to know the wind, precipitation, and sunrise/sunset times. These crucial details will help you choose your clothing, footwear, and the need for reflective gear and headlamps.

Remember, a sunny 25 degree windless day can be far more pleasant than a 40-degree day with freezing rain and howling winds, especially if not dressed properly.

Wunderground is my favorite.

2. Overdress

It is far better to overdress and have to remove layers than to spend your entire run shivering. I opt for sweat-wicking material for cold weather running to avoid excess moisture on the skin.

The right clothes will not only keep you warm, but your ankles and knees will be that much more warmed up for your workout. Below are some rough clothing guidelines for different temperatures:

  • What to wear running in 50-degree weather: shorts or light leggings + light long sleeve top + light gloves
  • What to wear running in 40-degree weather: leggings + long sleeve top + wind vest/jacket + hat + gloves
  • What to wear running in 30-degree weather: winter leggings + warm long sleeve top + wind jacket + hat + gloves + warm socks.
  • What to wear running in 20-degree weather: long underwear + winter leggings + light long sleeve top + fleece + wind jacket + thicker hat + fleece gloves + warm socks!
  • What to wear running in 10-degree weather: all of the above + face mask (You’re brave, by the way).

Looking to boost your winter wardrobe? Check out these Reebok offerings here!

Check out this video from TRE Coach Morgan about our best tips for running in the cold:

3. Bring an Extra Pair of Socks

Whether you land in a random icy puddle or you’re battling some nasty rain and sleet, a pair of dry socks can be a game-changer. Especially on those longer runs, dry feet means fewer blisters and less misery!

Want some more tips for running in the rain? Check out this video:

4. Warm Up–Indoors

Side-note: Here’s a great video about warming up outdoors in cold weather from TRE Coach Holly :

I have all my runners that I coach stop after 5-10 minutes to include some mixture of dynamic movement designed to athletically prep the body for better running. When it’s particularly nasty or dark out, spend 5 minutes doing these exercises BEFORE you head out the door: 10 squats + 10 leg swings + 10 lunges + 10 burpees.

Want an easy to follow the warmup sequence? Check out “Step 2” of our Ultimate Guide on how to improve your running.

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5. Drink More Fluids Than You Think You Need

The winter is dry, but cold weather running usually suppresses your thirst. Drink as much before, during, and after as you would in warmer months and you’ll be recovering in no time!

6. Plan Your Route

Are you dealing with slippery sidewalks? Perilously high snowbanks? Or frozen and rutted out trails? Figuring out how to run in cold weather involves planning a route so you can execute your given run for the day safely and effectively. If you think you’ll be out in the dark, bring a headlamp and something reflective to wear.

7. Grow a BEARD. Kidding, But Seriously…

This one is for the guys. Women will swoon, cars will give you extra room, and you’ll instantly shave three minutes off your mile time. Plus, you’ll look extra cool when your beard is all frosted and frozen from your wintery run session. I’m 60% sure all of the above equally applies to women.

8. Experiment and Learn for Yourself

If you’re running close to your house or near your parked vehicle, you have room to experiment and try winter weather running techniques. You might come with extra layers (or fewer layers)—and just be prepared to switch it out if it’s not working.

All these tips for running in the cold are general, but you’ll have to personalize them for yourself.

For example, you might not agree with our recommendations on what to wear running in 50-degree weather—you might find that’s shorts and a tank top weather for you.

By all means, do what feels right for you and your body.


Written originally for Reebok. Read it here as well as other fantastic content on the Reebok site!

Make Cold Weather Running Fun

Armed with these tips for running in the cold, you’re ready to face the elements. Whether you’re running in 50-degree weather or 20-degree weather, you’ll be ready to make it an enjoyable experience.

Finally, don’t forget to download our new mobile app to gain access to coaching advice, daily video workouts, injury prevention tips, and complete training programs that will make you a better athlete and help motivate and inspire your training program every day!