Cold-weather running tips |

Cold-weather running tips: What to wear, how to pace and more

Running in the winter can have its own serenity, but the right footwear, clothing and pace can determine if it’s a great run or not. (Photo by John F. Russell)

When the snow flies and temperatures tumble, fair-weather runners might be tempted to retreat inside, turning to the drudgery of the treadmill or skipping their workouts altogether.

They would be missing out on a something beautiful, though. There is a special serenity that comes from winter running, especially while it’s snowing. If you listen closely, you can hear the whisper created by thousands of snowflakes landing softly on a growing blanket of white. Dollops of snow and icicles accumulate on trees in lovely contrasts. And even in the kind of cold snap Colorado experienced this week, you’re generating body heat when you run, so it’s really not that cold after all.

“Some of the nicest runs I’ve had in the last few months were in the last couple of days,” said Greg Weich, who coaches runners at Broomfield High School and works at In Motion Running in Boulder. “It’s beautiful. I think there is too much of a tendency to say, ‘I only run when it’s great weather.’ ”

Of course, you want to be comfortable, not miserable. That’s why Scandinavians have a saying, roughly translated as, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Here are some suggestions to help you keep running when the mercury plummets and snow covers your favorite routes.


When your route is snow-packed and icy, consider running in a trail shoe that has more traction than your road shoes, or buying a traction device with spikes that you can strap on to your shoes.

“Look at trail shoes like snow tires,” Weich said, who buys footwear for In Motion and also works as a floor manager there. “You have a deeper tread pattern, more angled, and you’re going to have more edges on the outsole of the shoe, so you’re going to grip better.”

Kahtoola makes a strap-on device called NANOspikes ($50). It has six tungsten carbide spikes under the forefoot and four under the heel. A competitor, Yaktrax, makes a similar product ($40), utilizing carbide steel spikes.

“If you’re going to be out all the time in icy and snowy conditions, I do think it makes sense for most people to wear some kind of extra traction, either on their road shoe or add it to their trail shoe,” Weich said. “In Boulder, we have people who do trail running on technical trails no matter what the conditions are. The more you’re on stuff like that, the more it would make sense to do extra traction on the trail shoe as well.”


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