Winter Outdoor Running Tips

By Coach Lora Erickson,

Many people are nervous to run outside; but it’s really fun to run in the snow and it can be a great break from the treadmill. Personally I don’t own a treadmill and frankly it bores me, so I am an outdoor runner all.the.way. I like to have things to look at and move past, so I run outdoor year round. Yes, even in the deep snow like we are seeing in Utah this time of year. When I started running nearly 30 years ago they didn’t have the winter running clothes selection they do now-a-days. You can find gear for any weather conditions, so there are really no excuses. Here are some tips for running in the snow.

  • Invest in a good pair of trail shoes. They have more traction and are more water proof to keep your feet warm and dry. Regular training shoes are very “airy” and allow more water in. I have never needed to supplement with spikes or traxs for traction when I use trail shoes. The shoes work just fine for me.
  • Gators keep the snow from coming in the top of the shoes. Short ones, like the ones I am wearing in the picture at the top of this blog post are perfect.
  • Dress in layers, 10-15 degrees cooler than it is outside. You will get warm when you run. I usually double up with two light weight dry wicking shirts (one long sleeve) with running tights and do just fine. If you dress in layers it’s easy to adjust your temperature by peeling of a layer when needed. In temperatures 20°s or below (when it’s snowing a lot) I add a light weight waterproof breaker. I usually wear gloves with my wool mittens (they look like oven mitts but I’m warm) and my Blonde Runner earwarmer head band too. (pictured below)
  • Wear visible clothes, use lights and try to run in a group. Safety in numbers.
  • I don’t usually wear a facemask but some people do. I’ve seen a funny hat/facial hair combo for sale before. Check this out:
  • If possible run in the daytime when it’s easier to be seen and you can view your footing better.
  • If you run in the road, run against traffic and move over for vehicles.
  • Run on cleared sidewalks whenever possible. Snowblowers cut perfect running paths on sidewalks. This will also keep you safe from cars that might lose control and slide.
  • Be aware of your surrounds. Watch for vehicles pulling in or out of driveways or roadway turns.
  • Be careful of slanted drive ways or cambered roads. These paths can be extra slippery because of the angle.
  • Choose wide road ways with less traffic whenever possible. More space is always good.
  • If it’s currently snowing, wear a hat with a brim. This will keep the snow out of your eyes and prevent you from blinking yourself to death (grin).
  • Take it slow around corners; I try to keep my feet flat and resist pushing off my toes which can cause you to slip. When you keep your feet flat it gives you more surface area which is more stable. I usually shift my center of balance back slightly to do this.
  • Run on fresh snow rather than packed snow or ice, you will have better traction.
  • Be careful when you are running on areas with refrozen tracks, they are hard to see especially if new snow has fallen over them. They can create unexpected dips and grooves that can make you turn your ankle. Be sure and warm up and stretch your ankles before you head out.
  • It takes extra time to warm up in the winter, so be sure and a lot more of your workout to warming up. I often warm up on my indoor bicycle before I go out for a run.
  • Stay hydrated. In the winter months it’s not as tempting to drink water and the dry air takes a lot of moisture from our body as we breathe. Be sure and drink water with electrolyte regularly. To learn more read my Cellular Hydration post
  • Make a workout of it. To mix it up I like to utilize the deep soft snow by running in it for 30-60 second intervals. It’s really great for strengthening your lower abs, quads, core and hipflexors.
  • Have a blast! It’s fun to run in the snow!

Run Happy,Coach Lora EricksonBlondeRunner.comWant to learn more? Schedule a Running Form Analysis. Contact Coach Lora Erickson directly at

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