Guide to Winter Running

Running in the cold
Our brief guide to help running in the winter months

Last updated on January 18th, 2024 at 07:36 pm

“Why am I doing this?” – Usually the first thing to crop up in your mind while getting ready to go on that run when it’s freezing outside. One minute your running on a breezy summers evening, and just like that, it’s cold, wet and dark. But persevere, it doesn’t have to be bad; in fact it can actually be made enjoyable with the right mind set and the correct running gear.

Reward yourself

Leaving the comfort of a warm bed/home/office to go running is difficult. Giving yourself some form of reward at the end of each run can help give you that much-needed push, and when you’re running, it’s a breeze…well, sometimes! The rewards don’t even have to be big, it could simply be a nice coffee or hot chocolate, or maybe try running to a friend’s house or cooking a sweet treat? You could also try telling yourself you’ll do a much shorter run, only 10 minutes, 9 times out of 10 you’ll keep going as you’re already outside and doing it.

Group Up

Motivation is much easier to come by when there is more of you. Having a set date to go running is a great force; the thought of running in the cold far outweighs cancelling and letting someone down. Find a friend or a local running club to join, it really helps. Plus bonding with others and reaching goals together is great fun and very satisfying.

Map It Out

Your usual routes may not always be ideal for the winter elements. Make sure you plan your route before heading out, this will provide great motivation knowing, not only that your route isn’t flooded or icy, but will also give you a clear indication of your running time.

As a bonus, map the route out on a fitness monitor or watch.

Fuel Yourself

We’re all guilty of over-indulging at Christmas, it is nothing out of the ordinary. However, following the festive period comes an influx of fad diets that can cut out essentials that assist your running. Make sure your diet consists of high-quality carbs, a moderate amount of proteins and good fats. Make sure you have a consistent amount of fruits and veggies too.

If you’re looking for specific running nutrition supplements, you can always try the Recovery Powders or hydration tablets.

Wear the right gear –

Layer Up

This is really important, not only for staying warmer but for your own health & safety. Layering up with the correct clothing helps keep you warm and helps wick away sweat.

Browse our technical running clothing for a solid range of layers

Base Layer

The trusty base layer is a staple to every winter runner. A tight-fitting layer that helps keep you warm, provides compression and helps wick sweat. This layer is usually tight enough to allow other layers to easily go over the top. Brands such as 2XU and Under Armour.

Mid Layer

The mid-layer serves as a buffer between you and the outside air. Depending on the temperature, you could opt for either a short-sleeved or long sleeve running top. Something comfortable and moisture-wicking is advised so don’t opt for something more technical over a basic cotton t-shirt.

Outer Layer

A must-have for anyone running in the autumn and winter months. An outer shell or running jacket helps block out the elements like wind, rain and snow while letting moisture and vapour escape keeping you drier and more comfortable for longer.

Depending on the temperature and weather, there are a variety of jacket options. If it is slightly warmer but is windy and wet, you may want to opt for a ‘shell’ rather than a full jacket, these provide wind-blocking and waterproof materials without the extra padding of a standard running jacket.

Not only this, but if you’re choosing to run in the evening, your outer layer should always have some form of reflective material on it (seams, patches, logos). If it doesn’t consider investing in an led light or reflective band for your own safety.


Running tights are essential for winter running

Whether you love them or hate them, running tights are the greatest invention for winter running, period. Running tights are thin enough to remain breathable and lightweight, but thick enough to protect you from the elements and keep you warm.

They also provide compression, which helps increase blood flow and performance (you can read about compression advantages here). You can wear running tights as a standalone garment, or use them underneath your favourite running shorts or running trousers for extra warmth. Either way, these are a must-buy for running in the cold.

Hats and Gloves

Running Hat and gloves

In cold weather, your body heats your extremities last, making hats and gloves the usual go-to in colder climates. A good running hat will help keep you warm alongside moisture-wicking materials to help keep away that sweat whilst remaining visible and lightweight. As for running gloves. Don’t opt for anything too cumbersome, running gloves are usually warm, but thin enough to allow basic needs such as re-tying your shoe without taking them off.

See our full range of Running Hats & Gloves here >

Face Protection

Even with a hat and gloves, your face remains open to the cold air and rain. Protecting your face isn’t just for skiers, and protecting you’re your cheeks and lips from the cold is needed. Buff offers a wide range of face protection with countless different styles and materials that suit every weather forecast! Some even have a fleecy neck gaiter for extra warmth.

Use the Correct Footwear

Using the correct footwear when running is a necessity all year round, however, when it gets colder, you’ll want to take some extra care to be winter-ready. Make sure your soles aren’t worn and your footwear is clean, anything that can help maintain grip is a bonus, you may be able to get away with it on the dry ground, but as it gets wetter/icier old worn shoes could lead to slipping.

We always recommend using Gore-Tex footwear in the winter to provide a waterproof run, if your route has ice or snow then always opt for trail running shoes if you insist on going out, as they can provide greater traction.


Running in winter doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right gear, preparation, and mindset, you can safely enjoy your runs and stay injury-free. Remember, every season brings its own beauty and challenges to running. Embrace the winter landscape, but always prioritize your safety and health. Read our guide on the best way to stay injury-free this winter here.

To view our full range of winter running gear, check out our website or visit us in-store. Stay safe and happy running!

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