Winter Running Tips

Staying safe during cold-weather workouts

woman running in winter

Protect your feet and hands. Keep your feet as warm as possible with comfortable socks that remove sweat so that moisture can evaporate. Also, wear light gloves to keep fingers warm.

Dress in layers. A rule of thumb: Dress as if the temperature were 20 degrees warmer. You should be slightly cool at the beginning of your run. Try to avoid dressing too warm because extra sweating will cause your body to cool excessively in cold weather. Extra layers can easily be removed or added while running to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Stay visible. Daylight is limited in the winter, so be as noticeable as possible. Wear bright-colored gear that is reflective. Also, wearing a headlight or blinking light after dark will make you more visible to motorists.

Protect yourself from wind. Cold wind on sweaty skin quickly decreases skin temperature. Windproof clothing or running along routes with natural barriers can protect you.

Change quickly after your run. Core body temperature drops quickly after exercise. Change into warm clothing as soon as possible after running. Also, consider drinking a warm beverage.

— Aaron Gray, MD, sports medicine physician at MU Health Care