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The Everyman: Winter Arrives Early

Cold weather and snow shouldn't keep you from running this winter.

Cold weather and snow shouldn’t keep you from running this winter.

We just went from comfortable fall temps straight to winter in much of the United States. One day it was shorts-t-shirt-and-arm-warmer weather, and the next it was running-tights-multiple-layers-on-top-hat-and-gloves weather.

The ground is already frozen here in the mid-Atlantic region and the crunching sound it makes when you walk over it sounds like crusty snow. And speaking of the white stuff, parts of New York are getting five feet of it.

For those of us who don’t live in climates that are warm all year, running outside doesn’t have to be put on hold when the mercury drops and the land turns white. Here are a few keys to running in the winter.

Dress Up

And I’m not talking about wearing your best suit. It’s obvious, but running in cold weather means you need to dress warmly. But not too warmly, because depending on how far you’re going, your body will heat up. If you start to sweat and that gets trapped between your skin and your clothes, you’ll start to get real cold, real fast. Your best move is to wear layers so that you can peel them off as necessary.

Watch Your Footing

With cold weather comes ice, and with ice comes slips and falls that can lead to broken bones. Do yourself a favor and don’t fall, OK? Always keep your eyes on what’s in front of you and know what’s around you, in case you need to take quick evasive action to avoid another runner, cyclist or even a car. Wear shoes with good traction, like a decent pair of trail shoes that have some extra grip on the bottom and along the edges of the sole. If you’re running on snow or a lot of ice, buy a pair of running-specific cramp-ons—or make your own.

RELATED: Top Tips For Safe Winter Running

Take It Easy

Unless you’re training for a big race in the early part of next year, you don’t have to go out and run 15 miles at race pace. Slow it down a bit and take in the scenery. Run with a buddy and talk about what you want for the holidays. Running slower will also give you more time to avoid an icy patch at the last second.

Strength Train

Winter is a perfect time to run less and lift more. Head to the gym a few times a week and do some strength work to shore up your joints and build some muscle for the upcoming season. A stronger runner is a better runner. Try this simple strength circuit.


Winter is also about giving your runner’s body some time to rest and heal if you had a long season. So run a bit less, work on your strength in the gym and then relax at home. Even the most serious runners need a break once in a while.