Running into Winter

AUTHOR:  Jessica Nyrop
DATE:  11/08/2020

We all love running in different weather, some weather more favorable than other weather.

What the Weather?

Running on a dry path, in 70 degrees, partial sun, and a cool breeze is often preferred over running on a snow- covered path, in 20 degrees, with a wind chill of -10 degrees and snow. Running in warmer weather is easier; we throw on a pair of shorts, a shirt and tie up our sneakers and we are off. However, running in cooler, wet or snowy weather, we need to plan what we wear and where we run.

man running in the snow.

Photo obtained from

Winter Running Clothing

When running in winter, we need to wear appropriate clothing to protect the body against cold, wind and precipitation. Between 30-45 degrees a pair of tights, wicking top layer, windbreaker, and possibly thin gloves and a hat will ideally keep a runner warm and dry.

Once the temperature falls below 30 (or if there is a wind chill), a runner will need a few more layers. A wicking base layer (not cotton) will pull sweat away from the body to the keep the runner warm. The second layer is a warming layer, such as polar fleece. The last layer is a light, windproof and or waterproof top layer to cut wind from the body.

In lower temperatures, a hat and mittens (mittens keep the hands warmer than gloves) will keep the extremities warm. Running in temperatures lower than 10 degrees (maybe -20 wind-chill) can be done, but a runner must assess the body during the run and the environment they are running in (see safety below). A runner may need to use hand and toes warmers depending on how extreme the winter weather is.

A great site for detailed dressing options based on temperature, time of day and intensity of workout can be found at

Winter Running Footwear

Running on an icy, snow-covered road is completely different from a dry, clear road. Ice and snow can decrease grip of the running shoe and interfere with footing. Using a trail shoe or treads can increase grip of the foot as the foot meets the ground to decrease risk of slipping or missing a step.

outdoor winter weather running shoe accessory.

Photo obtained from

Winter Running Safety

  1. Wear bright colored clothing, reflective vest and use a light if running in the dark (Nathan Zephyr Trail 200 R Runners Flashlight) to increase visibility.
  2. Tell someone where and when you are running. Cell phones may freeze in extreme temperatures.
  3. Run on dry or clear paths, roads, and sidewalks. If you can see the ground, your shoes will have traction against the surface.
  4. If there is an advisory for extreme weather, be mindful and respect the weather; take a day to cross-train inside – the body of a runner will love yoga (
  5. The intensity of your runs may change. Running in warmer weather tends to be easier for the body. Running in colder temperatures is hard – breathing is labored, it takes longer to warm-up and shoe traction can be limited. Slow the run down, take a shorter stride and work on endurance versus speed as the temperature begins to drop.

Connect with Me

headshot of jessica nyrop.

Jessica Nyrop

Associate Director for Fitness and Instruction


175 Alumni Arena

Phone: 716-645-2534