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Chicago Running Blog Friday Five The Long Run

Winter Running Tips (Clothing to Falling Technique)


I had absolutely no idea what direction I thought I was going to go on for my post today until it literally smacked me in the proverbial face (yes, I know that is a completely contradictory statement, but go with it and you will see what I mean in a moment): The Friday 5 topic this week is about Cold Weather Running Tips. Well, yesterday morning, I put the following five tips into practice with a bunch of firsts for the year: Mother Nature b*tch slapped us with our first real flurry and (my first) sub-freezing run of the season. And then I bit it. Hard. Thus? Let’s talk

Winter Running Tips

winter running tips suzlyfe

1) Dress the part: layer like a crepe-cake doused in frosting fit for a 5 year old My Little Pony fanatic

What I wore yesterday:


  • Mizuno running tights (from last xmas)
    • Brushed lining, zips on the side, wind stopping, but breathable
  • Ankle socks
    • I like a little bit of ventilation, I’ll wear taller socks when it gets colder. Thicker, but still moisture wicking–you don’t want your feet to sweat, or they will get cold)
  • Under Armor short sleeve v-neck
    • A nice and lighter base layer, but you will feel warmer with your shoulders covered
North Face techical shirt--It has a wind breaking layer as well as vents. Moving Comfort Shorts.

North Face techical shirt–It has a wind breaking layer as well as vents. Moving Comfort Shorts.

  • North Face Isothermal midlayer (from GA Marathon Expo)
    • Lighter, but temperature regulating and wind stopping
yes during the summer, but this is the jacket

yes during the summer, but this is the jacket

  • North Face Windstopper jacket
    • Basically I”m obsessed with this jacket, and I have almost broken it because I wear it all year round. But it stops the wind, has a brushed lining like the tights, and I can unzip the pockets for a bit of ventilation. Also fits close to the body for more warmth and to old my stuff.
  • Fingerless with finger garage
    • In case your hands get hot or you need to regulate temps
  • new Smartwool gaiter (From last weekend)
    • Sealed off my neck and torso for extra warmth but not too much. I can pull it up over my face when I need to.


  • Target C9 green lined-knit hat (also from last xmas)
    • DAYGLO GREEN SO YOU SEE ME. Ok I’m done. But it is lined, keeps the warmth in, and then the knit gives more warmth without bulk or being too much.

Layers let you control your temperature by regulating it with ventilation. You want a warm torso because it will help you keep your extremities warm while you are running, and the blood moves from your fingers, etc. I like the option for my wrists and ankles to be exposed for temperature regulation, but as it gets colder, I will cover them. And wear bright colors–you want to be seen. Visibility is likely to be less during the winter, so even just a single piece, like a bright hat or scarf might very well save your life.

2) Pick your feet up. This might seem like a “duh” but seriously.

A) you want a flatter footfall (like a plod) if you are going on ice–don’t push off ice, you will cartoon character spin your wheels.


B) Cold muscles mean that you might lock up a little bit–exaggerate movements while you are warming up, and do it every now and then as you are running. I dragged my toe today going up a hill, and I got smacked by the Lake Front Path concrete. And scared the bejeezus of a cute old lady.

3) Know how to fall.

falling with style

Trail running, running in general, but especially during the winter, runners are prone to falling. And the ground is likely to be harder, you might even fall on ice. I have had 2 bad falls while running in the past 14ish months. And one single things has (knock on wood) saved me from serious injury both times: I roll.

If you have any control at all, don’t fall straight forward. ROLL DIAGONALLY. As in, put one shoulder first and curl like a rolypoly into a ball as you hit the ground in a somersault. This will distribute the impact force and may prevent you breaking a bone. Don’t try to break your fall. You will lose and the ground will win. Meet it half way. Practice if you need to–you want to land just behind your shoulder on your back and turn.

4) Watch the ground but look around

You are likely to get tunnel vision as you look for ice, but you need to be more vigilant than ever of being aware of your surroundings. There will be far fewer people out there with you than during the summer. Always have a way to get in contact with people, and make sure they know when and where you are going. And really? Don’t be stupid. If it looks bad, don’t go there. Don’t be a superhero–walk over the ice and don’t skate, unless you have skate on (in which case, get off the running path).

5) Take care of your body–before and after

Just because it is cold doesn’t mean that you don’t have to hydrate or fuel (you are likely not really to feel it as much). Your body is lying to you. I like a nice cup of half caff before I go because it warms me from the inside out, and maybe a tea after if I need it. Also, the layering means that you will sweat, it will just be lighter and you might not notice, especially if you have on tech gear. And fuel? Keep it close to your body so that it will stay warm enough to consume!

Winter running really is an art–and there are days when the artist in you is just not going to want to paint. Respect that. Use the treadmill, but don’t rely on it (if you can). Invest in good gear (check out this post for ideas and current season picks!)–they will serve you long into the future. And take care of your stuff–rinse off your shoes after you run outside! Get the salt off, or it will RUIN your $$$ precious shoes. Plus, if those treads are gone? You really are taunting the devil. Wear the right shoes, and be careful.

One of my most favorite picture of all time. Caitlin, my running ninja!

One of my most favorite picture of all time. Caitlin, my running ninja!

But at the end of the day? Have fun, too. Or maybe take some time off, and try something like Class Pass instead! $50 off right now for you and me if you sign up this weekend!

Do you continue running through the winter? What harsh lessons have you learned?

If you have run this week, what were the conditions?

Summer vs Winter running: which would you take?

Don’t forget! Join me and Runaway Bridal Planner in our December Blog Hop! Maybe give away your fave winter fitness accessory!

Linking up with Jill, Mar/Courtney/Cynthia, and Nicole! Thank you ladies!

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