5 Tips for Running in Winter Weather


The Boston Marathon is less than two months away, which means runners in Massachusetts and New England will be logging their miles. 

But February and March, even early April, can be fraught with bad weather—rain, ice, snow and freezing cold temperatures.

If you’re planning to run the Boston Marathon, or are wondering about running in wintry conditions, Beth Ann Hayes, a physical therapist at Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers has some tips for cold weather running. 

  1. Learn to Layer

It’s hard to get motivated when it’s cold out, but once you start moving your body will warm up. Some important layers for running in the cold include the following:

  • A hat, beanie, or headband
  • Base layer shirt that is moisture-wicking material
  • Wind-resistant running jacket
  • Mittens and, if needed, a face mask
  • Running pants or tights
  • Wool running socks

Layers do two things. First, they provide a pocket of air between each layer. This air is warmed by body heat and keeps you much warmer. 

2. Get Moisture-Wicking Attire

This is just as important as layering, according to Hayes. Do not run in cotton; since it keeps the sweat next to your skin. When clothing gets wet you can lose body heat. Also, when cotton gets wet, it loses its shape and rubs your skin. Instead, wear technical, moisture-wicking fabric that pulls moisture away from your skin, Hayes said. 

3. Invest in Shoe Ice Grips

If the snow or ice is severe, one can invest in shoe ice grips to put on the soles of your shoes. There are several brands of traction cleats out there. “This helps prevent falling when snow and ice are on the ground,” Hayes said. 

4. Take a Little Extra Time to Warm Up 

Your body warms up slower in cold weather than it does in warm weather, especially when you run in the early morning hours. Avoid injury by taking a few minutes to warm up your muscles and get your blood flowing before you head out the door. Foam rollers and muscle massagers are especially helpful in priming the body for cold weather work-outs.

5. Stay Hydrated

Once you feel thirsty, your body is telling you it needs water. This goes for all temperatures. But it’s especially important to pay attention to extreme temperatures. Stay ahead of your thirst; don’t wait until your body tells you it needs water.

For more information on how to run in colder weather, speak with your health care provider.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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