Running in Snow: 14 Tips to Stay Warm and Safe

Running in snow can be challenging, and not only because it’s difficult to get out of bed on freezing mornings.

Even if your determination is strong enough to drag you out of your warm bed, there are several hazards while running in snow that you do not encounter in the summer.

Running on snow and ice is one of the risks for runners who live in cold regions.

If you are unprepared for these situations, they might be harmful and prevent you from running on a daily basis.

In this article, we will talk about the various aspects that you will encounter while running in the snow.


Is It Safe to Run in the Snow?

It is safe to run in the snow as long as you take care and use the proper gear.

Preparation is essential, and you cannot run in the snow or on ice with the same equipment that you would use in the summer.

You must realize that running in the snow will not feel the same as running on other surfaces in the summer.

However, running in these conditions is definitely achievable, and you could even enjoy it. To be safe, you only need to take some extra measures.

You will also be unable to run with the same intensity, which is why it is excellent for off-season training.

It might be an excellent chance to rediscover the love of running for the sake of running.


What to Wear When Running in the Snow?

What to Wear When Running in the Snow
The layer closest to your skin should be comprised of a wicking synthetic material, such as DryFit, Thermax, CoolMax, polypropylene, or silk. Cotton is not a good base layer since it absorbs moisture and keeps you wet.

Running in the snow can be very beneficial if you are using appropriate running gears.

In this section, we will talk about what to wear when running in the snow.

So, let’s get started!


I. Hat and Earmuffs

While running in the snow, a fleece or wool hat will keep your head warm. If you start to overheat, you can quickly tuck it inside your pants.

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A hat with a brim or visor can also provide sun and rain protection by keeping your face out of direct sunlight.

Fleece earmuffs can help protect your ears from frostbite and other heavy snow threats.


II. Neck Gaiter

A neck gaiter, which is commonly used by skiers, can be particularly useful on a cold, windy day to protect your neck and face.

You can drag it up over your mouth to warm the air you’re breathing in, which is especially useful when you’re just getting started on your run.

A Buff, which is a seamless tube of microfiber fabric that can be worn in a variety of ways, including as a balaclava, is another option.


III. Face Mask

A balaclava, often known as a ski mask, is a form of headgear that covers your entire head, revealing only your face or a portion of it and sometimes only your eyes.

They’re often composed of fleece or wool and are only required if the temperature or wind chill is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Working out face masks may also assist keep you secure and protected while being breathable and comfortable.


IV. Gloves

It is critical to keep your hands and fingers warm while running in the snow.

You want insulating running gloves or mittens that wick sweat, provide ventilation and warmth, and have capabilities that let you use your touchscreen phone for emergencies or route monitoring.

When it’s really chilly outside, mittens are a better option for your fingers.


V. Upper Body Gears 

The layer closest to your skin should be comprised of a wicking synthetic material, such as DryFit, Thermax, CoolMax, polypropylene, or silk.

Cotton is not a good base layer since it absorbs moisture and keeps you wet.

When the temperature rises over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can simply wear a long-sleeved base layer.

Your second or middle layer, which is required in really cold weather (below 10 degrees Fahrenheit), should be an insulating material, such as fleece.

It should strike the ideal balance between trapping some air to keep you warm and releasing enough vapor or heat to protect you from overheating.

For your second layer, choose Polartec, polyester fleece, microfleece, Thermafleece, and Thermax.

The outer layer should shield you from snow while also allowing heat and moisture to escape.

To stay warm, it’s a good idea to wear a jacket with a zipper. Outer layers such as ClimaFit, Gore-Tex, Microsuplex, nylon, Supplex, and Windstopper are recommended.

If the temperature is between 10 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can generally get away with a wicking base layer and an outer layer.


VI. Lower Body Gears 

In order to enjoy your runs in the snow, you will need to examine what you wear on your legs. You don’t need as many layers on your lower body because your legs create a lot of heat.

You can generally get away with simply a pair of synthetic tights or running trousers made of Thermion, Thinsulate, Thermax, Coolmax, polypropylene, and/or silk.

If the temperature is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consider wearing two layers on your lower body: a wicking layer of tights and a wind-proof layer (like track pants).


VII. Trail Running Shoes 

For running in the snow, you should consider purchasing trail running shoes, which are slightly waterproof and provide a bit more grip in the snow.

You may also try YakTrax Ice Grippers or other types of ice spikes, which slide easily over your running shoes and provide extra traction.


VIII. Wicking Socks

When running in the snow, never wear cotton socks since they will not wick away moisture, leaving your feet wet and prone to blisters.

Wear a decent pair of wicking socks composed of materials like acrylic, CoolMax, or wool instead. SmartWool and other modern wool mixes are itch-free and machine-washable, and dryable.

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If you use thicker socks for running in the snow, you should check how they fit in your running shoes. You might need to go up a half-size or acquire a wide shoe model.


How to Run in the Snow?

Running in Snow Tips
Ice may be difficult to run on, and it is not always possible to determine how deep the ice is, particularly if it is covered by snow. Avoid icy spots if at all possible.

Running in the snow can be an amazing experience when done correctly.

Running in the snow offers certain advantages, such as burning more calories, but there are also additional factors to consider, such as ice and snow.

Keeping warm in extremely cold conditions, avoiding ice, and remaining motivated are all critical aspects of running during the snow season.


1. Find Your Motivation for Running in the Snow

Find your winter motivation to stay fit.

Many people are scared to begin exercising outside at first, yet chilly weather is great for running.

The less heat stresses the body has to go through, the better, which is why so many marathons are scheduled in October and November.

Boosting your enthusiasm and seriously looking forward to your run can increase your chances of maintaining your new running habit.


2. Check the Temperature Before You Go Out

Always check the weather before going running in the snow.

Just because it’s snowing weather doesn’t mean it’s cold enough to risk freezing, and you don’t want to overdress or underdress.

In general, you should check the wind chill, which is a calculated estimate based on temperature and wind speed of how cold it feels to the human body.


3. Dress Properly as Per the Weather

When running out into the cold, it is important to layer up.

This keeps you warm by trapping heat between each layer.

However, if you become overheated, you can remove layers until you are comfortable.

Wear a beanie, neck gaiter, gloves, and any additional warm clothing you believe you may require while running in the snow.


4. Plan Your Route Beforehand

When you first start running outside in the snow, you must plan routes that keep you close to home so you can get back quickly if you need anything (such as adding or removing a layer of clothing).

However, after you’ve mastered it, you can plan more scenic or interesting routes to keep yourself motivated.


5. Use Waterproof Trail Running Shoes

You can run in your usual running shoes in the snow, but you may wind up with wet, cold feet and numb toes at the end.

Wear a pair of waterproof or water-resistant trail running shoes to run securely and comfortably.

Trail running shoes have higher traction in the soles, making them far more useful for running in the snow than road running shoes, which have a moderate grip.

They are also more waterproof, with many trail running shoes featuring GoreTex technology.

Wear gaiters with your trail running shoes to protect your feet and legs in deep snow.


6. Use Ice Cleats to Prevent Slipping in the Snow

If the traction underneath your trail running shoes isn’t enough to protect you from slipping, you can purchase a set of ice cleats.

External traction systems that hook or strap to your shoes provide extra resistance when walking on or through snow or ice.

Ice cleats are available in a range of designs and tractions.

Some people use chains, while others use spikes.

They are, however, all designed to stick to the snowy and icy ground and protect you from falling.


7. Avoid Running on Icy Spots

Snow has a slight crunchiness to it, which can improve traction and make your run more enjoyable.

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Ice may be difficult to run on, and it is not always possible to determine how deep the ice is, particularly if it is covered by snow. Avoid icy spots if at all possible.

To avoid falling through, take caution when stepping over them. This is just another reason to take these snowy and icy runs cautiously.


8. Choose an Off-Road Route

Choose an off-road route if possible.

In the winter, the road can become quite slippery, although trails, grass, and fields are less likely to have ice beneath the snow.

If the snow is deep, just make sure a trail has been packed down. In any case, plan your route in advance if possible. You can evaluate conditions ahead of time, even on roads.


9. Use Neck Gaiter if You Catch Cough Easily

The natural humidity makes it simpler to breathe in the summer.

The air is significantly drier in the winter, making breathing more difficult and uncomfortable.

Common adverse effects include coughing fits and wheezing.

Wear a neck gaiter or balaclava when running in the snow if you are prone to coughing fits or dry lungs in the snowy air.


10. Shorten Your Stride

Since you’ll be running slower than normal, shortening your stride and taking fewer steps might help you detect ice spots more easily.

Remember that when running in the snow, you can plan to go at a slower speed than usual.

This is due to the slippery surfaces, which will cause you to run slower than usual.


11. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Hydration is sometimes ignored in the winter, yet it is just as vital as it is in the summer.

Even if you don’t feel it, you lose fluid during winter runs, and it’s crucial to maintain your fluid and electrolyte levels.

Summer and winter hydration practices should be the same.

On the same length run, try to drink the same amount as you would in the summer.

Take an electrolyte supplement with you if you plan for running for an hour or longer on the snow.


12. Protect Your Skin and Lips

How to Run in the Snow
Cold weather and wind can cause your lips to chap and exposed skin to crack. Use Chapstick or Vaseline to protect your lips. Use sunscreen since the winter sun and glare of snow can cause sunburn.

Cold weather and wind can cause your lips to chap and exposed skin to crack.

Use Chapstick or Vaseline to protect your lips.

Use sunscreen since the winter sun and glare of snow can cause sunburn.

You can also apply Vaseline to prevent windburn and clogging pores on your nose and cheeks (or anywhere else on your face).


13. Give Yourself More Time

Give yourself some more time to finish your run.

If you normally run 5k steps in 30 minutes, allow for 45 minutes while running in the snow.

This is especially essential if you’re running in the evening when it’s becoming dark.

You don’t want to be running in the dark when it’s cold outside.

So prepare to leave earlier than normal to ensure you have enough time to return before nightfall.


14. Carry a Headlamp in the Late Afternoon

If you’re going for a late-afternoon run, a headlamp is a useful piece of equipment that might come in handy if darkness falls faster than you think.

In the winter, night falls quickly, and you don’t want to be lost in the darkness while it’s cold and snowing.

It’s a little, unnoticeable thing that you won’t notice when it’s light, but it may save your life in the dark.


Final Thoughts

Running in the snow can be a fantastic way to get some cardiovascular exercise. But you must be properly prepared and dressed.

Begin slowly and start increasing your effort.

Watch the weather forecast before stepping out to run.

Based on the temperature, humidity, and road conditions, you may then evaluate whether or not it is safe to run.

Apart from being a bit risky, it can be beneficial to you in a variety of ways.

It gives the opportunity to increase your vitamin D intake and calorie burn.

Just follow the tips we have mentioned in the article and wear proper gear.



1. Why do People Prefer Running in the Snow in winter?

Some runners have no choice but to run in the snow and ice. Since not every runner has a treadmill. You have to go outside in the snow conditions unless you want to skip your morning run. Even while treadmills are available, many runners prefer to run outside in the snow for fresh air.

2. How much can Running in the Snow Slow me Down?

You will run more slowly on snow than on other surfaces. If the snow is fresh, it should be easier to run on. It may be more challenging if the snow is thicker. How much the snow or ice slows you down depends on the specific conditions. However, it is strongly advised to proceed carefully in order to avoid injury.

3. Why Should I Add running in the Snow to My Running Routine?

Running in the snow can engage your muscles in unique ways and offer a new dimension to your workout. It’s also a fantastic method to enhance your aerobic endurance. Breathing heavily in the cold stimulates your cardiovascular system more intensely than in the warmer months. It’s great for slower recovery runs and can help you rediscover the joy of running.

4. Should I Wear Cold-weather Running Masks while Running in the Snow?

Yes, you should wear a cold-weather mask while running in the snow. Cold-weather running masks may help you not only shield your face, mouth, and lips from the surroundings but can also help you breathe easier while running. Cold-weather running masks give warming to the air before you breathe it in, making it easier to breathe in the frigid air.

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