Running in winter is a story of its own. Many people keep commenting when they see someone running in cold weather. ‘He must be crazy running at freezing weather’, ‘She mixed the weather seasons’, ‘How is he not cold?’. Running in cold weather is neither good nor bad, depending of running experience, but at later stage it can be fun and beneficial for heath. Not a small group of active people become happy when temperature gets low after hot summer. For many runners its easier to workout in colder that in hotter weather.

Breathing in winter is difficult. Temperature is low, air is dry, chilly winds are blowing even the healthiest runner are experiencing breathing problems while running in the cold season. Breathing can be improved by wearing the mask to warm the air between the mask and the face, and to moist it. Scarf can provide adequate protection but not as effective as (ski) mask.

Staying hydrated in winter is tricky, air is much dryer than warm air, staying properly hydrated is key component of running safely in winter. Wearing a face protection can help to warm and moist the air. Maintaining hydration reduces the risk of hypothermia and breathing difficulties.

The most important is to choose adequate clothes for cooler temperature and dress up differently in comparison to warm part of the year. Your body heats up faster at summer but at winter You need to assist it to warm up before leaving home. Opposite to that, body is cooling down more quickly in winter. It is significant to get out of the wet clothes immediately upon finishing the run. Its clever not to make breaks while running outside, or that breaks should last as short as possible.

Getting dressed for a run. ‘What should I wear?’ ‘Is this warm enough?’ Its important to know how to calculate the current ‘running’ weather? Do it by adding 10°F (5°C) (or more) degrees on one from the forecast. It can help You determine clothing needs. Do not stick to particular number, its impossible that same temperature suit two people. All of this depends of Your body size, running tempo, gender and distance of workout. In the table below You can find little guide to help You dress up properly.

Forecast temp 10-20 °F

-12< t <-6°C

20-30 °F

-6< t <-1°C

30-40 °F

-1< t <4°C

40-50 °F


50-60 °F


60+ °F


‘running’ temp 20-30°F

-6< t <-1°C


-1< t <4°C









What to wear Two shirts layered, tights, gloves, hat, and windbreaker jacket/pants. Two shirts layered,one long sleeve,other short, jacket—tights, gloves, hat. long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, and headband to cover ears long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves (optional), headband to cover ears (optional) long sleeve tech shirt and shorts short sleeve tech shirt and shorts
*Susan Paul from runnersworld website



When mercury in thermometer falls below 0 degrees consider instead of running outside to go to gym and have indoor run. Very cold weather and dry air could aggravate some health condition. Or if You decide to go outside for a run look out for ice!

Tips for more adequate winter running

Running outside

Consider all the main components of the running outdoor, expecially if You have some serious conditions like asthma. Or if You feel pain, fatigue, disorientation, sickness seek medical attention and stop going outside for a run!

Dress up

Dress up like it is 10 more degrees that it really is. You have to dress in layers and warm up before You go for a run. Fist mile might be a little cold for You until the body start working properly.


Its not going to be Your PB time

You have to realize that if it’s snowing or running and its freezing outside, you’re not going to be able to run your fastest times or to run at the Your ordinary pace. If You push to hard against the elements which is slowing You down there is a chance of getting risks of some serious injuries.

Windy day

Your enemy number one is freezing wind when it occurs. Remember not to run in big an open areas (no buildings or trees to give You shelter). Build up motivation and ‘run’ through windy workout.

Warm up before going out

Help Your body by couple of minutes of dynamic warm up before leaving home will raise Your heart rate, increase blood flow, rise body temperature up.


First layer – made of sweat-wicking fabric like synthetic or polyester material.

Second layer – windproof and waterproof, protecting you from the elements.

Third layer (if its very cold) – is a buffer between layer in case of very cold weather.

Ears and Fingers

Keep ears and fingers warm, blood is slowly reaching these areas so wear something to cover them. The best option is to put some waterproof and wind-resistant gloves and headband.

Choosing routes

When its snowing choose the streets which are clear from snow and avoid possible hazards. Useful advice is to avoid trail running.

Icy weather

Maybe its time to skip running outside in case od icy sidewalks and snow on the path and go indoors and use treadmill or simply skip run and do some fitness workout for change.

Sweaty clothes

Immediately after a chilly run take off sweaty clothes and get warm.


In cold weather is hard to realize how much are You sweeting and it can be dangerous if You are not hydrating enough. Get enough fluids while running and after running take some refueling.

Protect Your face

protect your face the harsh wind, it can help and warm the air you are breathing.

Apply vaseline

Recommendation, apply it to the exposed areas and protect the face from windburns.

Stay seen

Wear reflective, fluorescent gear and help other to see You and avoid any problems in traffic.

Get motivated

Use what ever can help You get and stay motivated in cold days. YouTube clips, books, movies or running in a group can help You getting through this rough part of the year.

🇬🇧 Former member of Serbia Swimming Team and current member of Serbia Triathlon Team, engineer and sports lover.

🇷🇸 Bivši član reprezentacije Srbije u plivanju i reprezentativac Srbije u triatlonu, inženjer i zaljubljenik u sport.

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