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Tips & Techniques to Get You Back to Full Strength

12 Days of Christmas Cold Weather Running Tips

Megan Sloan 
December 14, 2022


Every runner knows that as the temps start to drop around the holiday season, it can be harder and harder to get outside to get the job done. Here are our 12 Days of Christmas tips to make winter running enjoyable!


Day 1: 

Do a proper warmup. Your muscles are going to be cold like the outside, and doing a warmup can help reduce the risk of injury. Doing a mix of mobility exercises, drills, and dynamic movements can help increase your heart rate and get your body ready to run. Try doing 30 seconds of each exercise: body weight squats, walking lunges, jumping jacks, karaoke, and skipping to get your body warm and raise your heart rate. 

Day 2: 

Make sure to wear a base layer. A form fitting, moisture wicking base layer is a great way to keep your body heat in without sacrificing mobility. 

Day 3: 

Don’t forget your hat, gloves, and neck gaiter! Keeping your extremities covered is extremely important when running outside throughout the winter. Frostbite can set in super quickly if you don’t have your hands and head covered. Neck gaiters are also great if you need to cover your face throughout your run.

Day 4: 

Don’t skip out on the hydration! Just because you aren’t as thirsty during your winter runs doesn’t mean you aren’t sweating. Keeping your body hydrated is a key factor when it comes to avoiding muscle cramping and other issues. 

Day 5: 

Utilize the snowy/icy days to work on drills! Running can seem super daunting when you can barely see the road through the ice and snow. But the reality is, it can be super helpful for your form! Running through snow and ice forces you to pick up your feet, pull that back leg in behind you, and keeps your stride short!

Day 6:

Don’t start too fast. Allow yourself to build into a comfortable pace to make sure your muscles are completely warmed up and ready to go. Starting out too fast in frigid temps can lead to injury.

Day 7:

Finish up and head inside! As soon as you finish up your run, it’s best to find your way inside as quickly as possible. If that’s not possible, make sure to have some clean, dry clothes nearby that you can change into. As soon as you stop running, your core body temperature will start to drop, making it hard to stay warm if your clothes are wet.

Day 8:

Run outside. Don’t let the ice and cold scare you, make an attempt to log at least 1 outdoor run per week during the winter! It can be hard to step foot outside, but it’s important to mix up the surfaces you’re running on. 

Day 9:

Buy traction for your shoes if necessary. Adding traction to your running shoes in the winter can be a great way to combat the snow and ice, especially if you plan to run the trails. Don’t try to be the hero and run across a sheet of ice without your traction!

Day 10:

Run with a buddy for accountability! If you have a time and date set to meet a friend for a run, you’re less likely to bail on the run. Make sure you set boundaries and set a limit on what temps you won’t run in. 

Day 11:

Pick a race or race-cation to stay motivated. If you have an event on the calendar, you’re more likely to hit the road and run! Keeping small events or a race-cation on the calendar is a great way to keep yourself motivated throughout the chillier months. 

Day 12: 

Choose a proper route. If need be, map out a local route that can be run in loops to avoid patches of ice and snow. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Meet the Author
Megan has been apart of the Smith Physical Therapy & Running Academy family since March of 2021, taking the title of Director Special Programs, Run Coach, and Running Technique Specialist. Megan has been coaching runners since 2014 and enjoys working with runners of all ages.