Here is the follow up on my last video blog about how to dress in severely cold weather and share with you how I structure my runs during sub-zero degree weather. 

Cold weather running can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if we do not take the proper precautions. Below are my tips to keep you running safely and comfortably.

Listen and watch the video here below:

Read the transcript below for more details: 


Number one, I’d like to do a little bit of prep work before I go for that run. 

  • Check the weather so you know exactly how cold it is So I will know where I’m going to go, I will know exactly what I’m wearing.
  • Dress with the layers you’ve determined will keep you comfortable and safe at that temperature (check out this video/blog if you want help with that)
  • Pack any additional clothing that you want to bring
  • Pack emergency materials: A blanket, extra socks, a pair of fur lined boots, phone charging cord, etc.
  • Pack a small cooler for hydration/fuel if you’re going for a long run. The cooler is to keep the contents from freezing solid. 
  • Determine where you’re going, and make sure it is a place you are already familiar with so there are no surprises. 
  • Tell someone where you’re going to be and how long to expect you’ll be there. That’s a given on any run really, for safety reasons.

Your Running Route:

  • Go to a place that you’re familiar with. New places and new terrain increase the likelihood of unforeseen complications and level of distraction when you need to be focused on your body’s messages and safety.
  • Go somewhere that is going to be a circle/loop or an out and back, that’s not too long in length. This way, your car can be used as a home base.
  • The distance of that loop or outback is up to you and will depend on your current training. It can be anywhere from a quarter mile to three miles. 
  • If you’re going farther out, be sure to have another person with you and go to a place that has ample cell service. Take note that in extremely cold weather, batteries die quickly, and communication may not be as reliable. 

Starting Your Run:

Now that you’re bundled up and ready to go, begin with a warmup lap at a comfortable pace, jogging or walking. I will get myself engaged, check in with my body, and begin to get my heart pumping. I continue to body scan as I get into the routine of it.

After that first lap, my warmup is done and I check in with my body temperature and see how I feel. If I’m comfortable, I keep going, and if I’m getting really warm, I can shed a layer and leave it in the car. 

As I continue my workout, I’m still passing my car regularly. This allows me to continue to check in with my body temperature and comfort levels. I have the freedom to easily shed layers or switch out my heavy hat for my ear band over my face mask, as I acclimate to the cold. 

It also allows me to make a quick exit if something’s not feeling right. I can call it a day for safety reasons.

Finishing Your Run:

  • Finish with a cool down
  • Warm up your vehicle if you’ve been out for more than 30 minutes. 
  • You can do your post run stretches while you’re waiting for the car to warm up
  • Send a text to those you told you were running
  • Transition to your next activity

You can feel proud about your accomplishment and celebrate your win. I recommend writing in your running journal any a-ha moments you had about how your body related to the temperature. Also note if you need to change up any of your layers, if the location worked or not, and what made the run an experience to remember. 

Our goal is to acclimate to the frigid temperatures and create a way to feel good in spite of the weather. Should you consistently find that the cold weather doesn’t serve you, other options are available. You can always turn to a treadmill or possibly find an indoor track for those extremely cold days. 

Hi, I'm Sarah!

I help struggling runners ditch excuses so they can get consistent, feel good and love running again. 

Learn more about me and how I can help you here.

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