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Winter running tips

Hoping to be outside running more this year than on a treadmill.  Wondering what tips and gear I should consider to stay warm and to not slip on the ice or snow!

3 Replies

Winter can be the best time for running!  (I think so, anyway.)  Dramatic weather can be thrilling to be out in. Nanospikes are good for running on hard-packed snow and ice.  You can just slip them on over your favorite sneaks. I also like a light pair of gaiters to keep snow and slop out of my socks.  My favorite gaiters for running shoes are made by Ice-Bug.

For the rest of it, I keep a variety of layers on hand: a few different weights of tights, the same for tops along with a wind-proof shell.  I usually don't need a lot of insulation, especially up top, but wind protection is important on some days. Sometimes I wear a small pack so I can shed layers.  For example: I often start out with cold hands and wear double layers of mittens, but by the time I've gone a mile or two I need to take off a layer.

I also keep two kinds of eye-wear on hand: sunglasses for sun-on-snow brightness, and also a pair of lightly tinted glasses for days when it's cloudy but the snow or sleet is blowing - they keep the ice-grains out of the eyes.

Go outside 'n' play!

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I just remembered one more thing - I put vaseline on my exposed face when the temperature gets into the single-digits.  It works well.  I don't care for balaclavas.


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@jbweb I love winter running, especially if you live in a location that has seasonal change. There is something to running the trails after all the leaves fall! Here are a few tips that served me well over the years.

  • Always layer up. Start with a nice base layer and make sure it is non cotton. Choosing a next to skin layer really comes down to personal preference. I love running in a Smart wool Mid-Weight base layer, but if you don't like wool on your skin I really love the REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Long-Sleeve Crew Top. Next I usually go with a fleece or another non cotton layer if it is super cold, then a fleece as my outer layer generally. I never wear a down layer and would opt to wear two fleece layers or running jacket\wind breaker rather than go with a more insulated options.
  • Always wear a hat if you’re cold before you start your work out. Cold is relative depending on the person but if you walk outside and are immediately cold, grab a hat. You can always put it in a pocket or carry it. You lose so much heat from your head. Also sweat and cold don’t mix, so this is as much as a moisture management tip as it is a means to keep your body temperature regulated.
  • Wear gloves!  I wear The North Face FlashDry Glove Liners, a light weight soft shell glove.
  • Make sure not to wear cotton socks. Go with a wool or a synthetic blend. I prefer to use Balega Enduro Quarter Socks. They maintain shape after long term use, they have seams in the right places, and manage moisture really well.
  • I grew up in Wisconsin and slipping is a concern almost 6 months a year. Making sure your eyes stay focused on your path and keeping proper running form is key to staying on your feet. I personally prefer not to wear a traction aid. One of my favorite places to run was on a frozen lake in the winter. I used to run the snowmobile tracks, usually the trails they create have good foot traction. It is also a great way to enjoy a local lake from a different perspective.  

I hope your winter running is amazing and inspiring!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.