4 Cold-Weather Running Tips for Beginners

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Runner on Winter Snowy Road

It's that time of year, everyone. The leaves are falling and the breeze is chilly. People are trading in their tank tops and shorts for blue jeans and long-sleeve tees. It's a great time to be a runner, but it can be a frustrating time if you've just started running and have never had to brave the elements.

The number one question heading into the chilly months is, "As a new runner, what can I expect with cold-weather running?"

More: 9 Tips for Running in Cold Weather

The short (and most exciting) answer, is faster times.

Yes, we run a lot faster in the cold races than we do in the standard, hot-summer month 5Ks and 10Ks, but there are a few things to learn before heading into the snow.

First, let me share my worst cold-running experience.

On January 17, 2009, I ran my first 5K. When I woke up that morning, the thermometer said 22 degrees, with a wind chill of 19. Having never done anything in conditions like that (I trained on an indoor track), I panicked and put on all the winter clothing I could find. It was a big mistake.

My official getup consisted of the following:

  • Underwear
  • Full-length thermal underwear
  • Wind pants
  • T-shirt
  • Long sleeve T-shirt
  • Sweater
  • Face mask
  • Beanie Scarf

More: 3 Tips for Training in the Cold

By mile one, I was so hot that I began shedding clothes with no concern about whether I'd get them back.

In all likelihood, this won't be your experience, but it does bring me to what you should remember for cold-weather running:

More: Don't Let Cold Slow You Down