4 Tips: How to Go Running in the Cold

Photo by  Nathan Wolfe  on  Unsplash

In the last three years of my life, I have discovered the icy prairie winds that sweep across the state of my new home in Minnesota. Growing up in Vermont, I ran my fair amount of races in the snow. So, the proud New Englander that I am, I was convinced I was ready for anything.

But guess what? Living in a valley between two mountain ranges, it is actually surprising how much I have been sheltered from the wind my whole life. Winter in Minnesota is an entirely different experience.

I can do snow. I can even do ice or freezing rain. I’ve run in all of that. But when the temperature drops like it does around here, it's hard to get out of bed, let alone out for a run.

So here are the things I have learned (or things I am still learning!) about running in the cold, from one beginner runner to another:

1. Warm Up Properly

Accept the fact that you are going to have to start slower. Your lungs, and all the muscles in your body, will thank you. You will need to warm up more than you do in warmer weather, at least 10-15 minutes of slower running. Mix in some dynamic stretches as well. Feel it out after that, as you begin to loosen up, know that you might still have to take it slower than normal.

2. Dress for Success

Don’t be scared of layers! I am a pretty warm runner, but no one runs warm in 4 degree weather. So you have to layer. Every day. All the time. Keep the core warm, and take off layers if you get warm as you run. One of the hardest things I have to talk myself into is investing in the clothes I know I will need. Nothing motivates you to run in the cold like having a nice new cold weather clothing!

3. Find a Running Buddy for Morning and Night Running

Colder weather also means shorter days. Running in the dark can be tricky, but it's a lot easier with a couple of headlamps and a running partner!

4. Do It For the Story!

What’s better than getting to tell people you went for a run today? Telling people you went for a run as you walk into the office in your parka and scarf wrapped around your face! We are tough, runners of all kinds, and the weather makes us tougher!

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” -Ranulph Fiennes, Endurance athlete

Good luck out there to all my northern girls! And girls in the south, keep us in mind and pray for us! I am praying for all of you!

Brianna St. Amour is a Middle School Youth Minister just outside St. Paul, MN. She is a Minnesota transplant from Northern Vermont who misses hiking in the Green Mountains but has traded it for exploring the Twin Cities (when its not too cold to breath!) She loves New England Sports, Golf, running, biking, and telling people about what Jesus has done in her life. Coffee, Mass, sunshine, baseball, friends and wine are ingredients for the perfect day.