Running in the Snow – How to Run Safely in Winter Weather

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For some, the running season is over as soon as snow hits the ground. However, others don’t let a little snow stop them from their morning run. 

If you want to learn how to run safely in the snow, you’ve come to the right place. We explain everything you need to know about running in the snow to ensure you can safely enjoy your runs all year long.

Running in the Snow – Top Tips

Running in the snow is all about preparation. Until you feel fully prepared and confident, you shouldn’t step foot onto the snow, or else you may risk your safety and get an injury.

If you’re ready to learn how to run in the snow, here are a few tips to help guide you.

Have the right shoes

Your winter running shoes are the most critical item for running in the snow. Your shoes must be warm and have the proper traction to ensure the safest run possible.

Choose running shoes with better traction to tackle any slippery areas you may encounter on your run. Trail running shoes may be enough, but spikes are your best bet for traction if the snow is slushy or icy.

If the snow is soft and fresh, you may not need traction. Under these circumstances, your regular running shoes may even do – although it is recommended that you have separate running shoes for winter running either way.

Don’t forget to choose the right socks to fit in your shoes and keep your feet warm. A wool blend is your best bet for maximum wintertime warmth.

In addition to having the right shoes, you also want to ensure that you have the right winter running gear. Other items you need to consider during winter conditions are the following:

  • Winter running jacket
  • Running gloves
  • Neck gaiter
  • Headwear
Woman running through the woods in the snow wearing winter running shoes

Examine the snow

Before even deciding to run in the snow, you’ll need to assess it first.

Snow takes on many forms, and the state of the snow may dictate what gear you wear on your run or whether you go on your run at all. You’ll have a different experience running on fresh snow than on tightly packed snow or deep snow. 

Remember, there is such a thing as it being too cold or having too much snow on the ground for a run. If it looks like you’re facing three feet of heavy snow and the roads are not yet cleared, you may be better off skipping your run that day.

Know where you’re running

A snowy day is not the time to experiment with a new trail. When running in the snow, you’ll want to run somewhere you’re already familiar with.

The snow covers the ground, preventing you from having a full view of where you step and even concealing the steepness of the terrain at times. This can all very easily lead to injury. For safety, you should only run in areas where you know the terrain well and can predict what to expect to the best of your ability. 

Relax your pace

Running in the snow presents additional obstacles you don’t typically have – from snow banks to potential black ice. Keeping this in mind, it isn’t realistic to think that you’ll be able to run at the same pace that you typically run when there’s no snow.

Be more forgiving with your pace while running in the snow. You’ll also want to adjust your gait and keep your feet closer to the ground than usual to avoid slipping and falling from impact. 

You should focus less on the pace and more on the overall enjoyment of your run. Winter is a beautiful time, so reframing your run to take in the scenery may give you a new perspective. 

Take breaks

You have to be more forgiving to yourself when running in the snow as it comes with additional challenges that you may have difficulty facing. Running in cold weather can be harder on your lungs than running in warmer weather.

Relaxing your pace during the winter is an excellent first step, but you should also be bold and take breaks when needed. Running in the snow is awesome cardio, but it can be a lot for your body, especially if you’re running on rough terrain, ice patches, or packed snow. Don’t hesitate to turn back if it becomes too rough. You can always try again tomorrow!

Smiling young woman running down path in winter running gear

Recap: Top Tips for Running in the Snow

To recap, here’s what you should remember when running in the snow:

  • Wear the right footwear
  • Assess the snow
  • Know the terrain
  • Slow your pace
  • Take breaks

Running in the snow can be fun but also comes with many challenges. Safety should be your number one priority, so be fully prepared before attempting to continue your runs in a winter wonderland.