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5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid

by Nellie

I have always admired my runner friends that can run throughout the year without much thought.

I am not that kind of runner.

However, I am trying to be. I am a very spoiled runner, I love a sexy 45-55 degrees when I run outside. Otherwise you can generally find me on the treadmill! In the last couple of years, I’ve ventured out into the cold for some training runs, but nothing below 30 degrees or so.

I’ve signed up for the Salsa & Blues NYRR 5k in early March twice now and made it through both times. Nothing however could match the windy cold that was the United NYC Half of 2016. It didn’t help that I was incredibly sick the whole time!

Even in my limited experience of winter running, I’ve learned a few things and I am happy to share the EPIC mistakes I have made with you so you can have a much better winter running experience!

5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid

Forgetting Your Gloves: This has happened to me, twice. Running in really cold weather is TOUGH but running with cold digits? REALLY tough.

Both times that I forgot my gloves I spent so much time focused on how cold my hands were that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

Not Bringing a Coat to the Start Line: When I was gearing up for my first winter race I was obsessed with the details–how many layers I would wear, which type of hat to wear etc.

Meanwhile I didn’t even realize that I could simply take my coat with me, put it in bag check and grab it when I was done. (This especially applies to city runners who take the train to races!)

REALLY check the weather: Seeing a temperature that might be manageable–may not be so manageable with the wind chill factored in.

Don’t take the obvious temperature of the day for granted–check the real feel for the wind chill adjustment!

Bring a change of clothing if you can: Last year it was a very miserable ride back home in my very cold and wet race clothes.

You might be able to ride home in your race clothes in the spring, summer or fall but in the winter it is a totally different and highly uncomfortable story.

Don’t underestimate your layers: I swear by Under Armour Cold Gear because I know that if I have one or two layers on I am good.

There are many different brands that make winter specific clothing but you really need to try and see what makes you feel good. I didn’t believe *any* piece of clothing could protect me from the cold but the technology is definitely there.

If outside running is not your thing don’t worry I’ve got some easy ways to stay sane on the treadmill.

Running in the winter is no joke! Check out these 5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid

We have a new series this year that will be the follow up to our super popular series Workouts For Runners!

I’ll be teaming up again with my favorite runner bloggers to share more running tips throughout the year, except this time it will be called the Runner’s Toolkit!

Here are more winter running tips from some awesome blogger runner ladies! Be sure to check our their posts and show them some love!

Carly @ Fine Fit Day Shares her Winter Running Tips!

Running in the winter is no joke! Check out these 5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid

Allie @ VITA Train 4 Life Shares Her 8 Best Winter Running Things!

Running in the winter is no joke! Check out these 5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid

Sarah @ Run Far Girl shares her 8 Essential Winter Running Gear Items!

Running in the winter is no joke! Check out these 5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid

Angela @ Happy Fit Mama shares Winter Running Gear that every runner needs!

Running in the winter is no joke! Check out these 5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid

Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes shares her 5 Favorite Winter Running Gear pieces!

Running in the winter is no joke! Check out these 5 Winter Running Mistakes You Should Avoid


What are your favorite winter running tips? What is your favorite season for outdoor activity?

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Allie January 25, 2017 - 5:31 am

Oh yeah – gloves are a MUST! And, you know you can wear a “throw away” outfit to a race and whatever clothing is left behind is donated to a charity? I sometimes go to Target and buy kids clothing on clearance :-)) Whatever keeps you warm until that starting gun goes off!!
Love this link up!

Carla January 25, 2017 - 5:38 am

OK I know I’m a wimpy Texan πŸ™‚ but I’ve done some half marathons here where it’s in the 30s at the start and that’s freezing for us. I need to get better about hitting up Goodwill – – and putting a hefty bag on top of that – – and finding something I can purchase toss on the way that I know will be donated.
I think in non-freezing freezing climates it’s too easy to become too much of an optimist

Janine HulDie January 25, 2017 - 6:11 am

What great advice and definitely agree about the layering as even with any outdoor activity this time of year the key really is with layering in making functioning outdoors much more pleasant and comfortable. Thank you for sharing, Nellie πŸ˜‰

kita bryant January 25, 2017 - 8:13 am

I can’t even walk in the winter let alone run. It’s so cold and I can’t do the cold at all. That New York cold is a different type of cold than down south too lol

Kimberly G January 25, 2017 - 8:56 am

I’m also a HUGE fan of Under Armour Cold Gear, especially their compression running tights. Those tights are standard for my winter running!

Tamara January 25, 2017 - 4:50 pm

I need Under Armour. I go out there in all kinds of weather. Although I’m not a runner, the powerwalking and snow-hiking is vigorous!

Carly January 25, 2017 - 7:34 pm

Number 3 all day long… I always check wind chill in the winter not just to make sure I don’t freeze my butt off, but also so I don’t assume it’s colder than it feels, because being overlayered in the winter sucks.

angela January 25, 2017 - 8:46 pm

#3 for sure! Although I’ve been screwed lately by the weather channel hourly forecast. It’s been off by 10 degrees which is a huge difference when you are talking 13 when it’s really 3 degrees!

Leslie January 26, 2017 - 6:46 am

The Husband tells me all the time that I need to get outside to run instead of using the treadmill. But with fingers like ice at any temperature below 50 degrees, it just sounds like torture! Pinning this for future reminders!

Beck February 1, 2018 - 9:48 pm

Great piece of information over here..From my point of view, Forgetting the importance of hydration is also the common mistake. It is important to stay hydrated. Just because it is cold it does not mean you are not losing as much fluids. You will be sweating under all that kit.

Mel the runner December 1, 2020 - 12:22 pm

I’m in MN, and run below 30 all the time. Plus it’s dark when I run. A headlight and tail light reflective vest is mandatory in my opinion. Usually wear 2 base layer, a wind blocking performance fleece, 2 pairs of leggings, and I could not run without smart wool socks. My toes are always the warmest! My face gets a slather of Vaseline as well


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