Woman running in multilayers

Winter running: 10 essential tips

How to stay motivated during the cold months? Get some tips from Murielle, training/education leader at Decathlon, and avid winter runner.

Winter running requires preparation. Being properly equipped with warm clothing and anti-slip shoes is key to staying safe and comfortable. To really enjoy winter running, choose picturesque routes, find a running partner who will motivate you and enjoy the refreshing and invigorating air for a truly enjoyable experience. Discover our tips to learn how to love running in the cold. 


This winter, there's no reason to leave behind your running shoes! Even though the temperature has dropped, running is not a problem. You just need the right equipment and clothing. The most important thing is to cover up to avoid frostbite. Don't forget to stay hydrated and most of all, setting your timer (let's beat that personal record, even in winter!). Let us guide you with our tips & tricks:

Winter running: 10 essential tips

What are the benefits of winter running? 

Winter running offers many benefits. First of all, it allows you to maintain an exercise routine all year long, which contributes to having a better overall physical condition and a greater resistance to seasonal illnesses. Also, running in the cold can help burn more calories, because the body is working harder to maintain its internal temperature, which can be beneficial for those trying to lose weight. In addition, the fresh winter air can be invigorating, which can help improve your mood and mental well-being. Finally, running during the colder months can strengthen your discipline and determination, because it may be more difficult to head out in the cold weather, but once you’re out there, the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment is even greater. So, lace up your running shoes, put on your crampons and get ready to make the most of this outdoor activity, even during the winter season!

Winter running: 10 essential tips


Do some jumping jacks, lunges, or high knees to increase your body temperature. Once you step outside, you’ll feel warmer, and your first few strides will be that much easier against the cold air.

Winter running: 10 essential tips


The first layer, or base layer, should help wick sweat away, so stay away from cotton. Next, put on an insulating layer and a waterproof windbreaker (jacket & pants), which you will need in difficult weather. Wearing several layers will help you regulate your temperature as you go and protect your from the cooler air outside.

“Keep in mind that you’ll feel 10 degrees warmer after a few minutes of running. Ideally, you should be shivering a little at the start. If you’re too comfortable, you’re probably overdressed. That means you’ll sweat a lot and all that humidity will make you cold very fast, even with a base layer,” explains Murielle.

Winter running: 10 essential tips


You need more than just a good base layer to protect your entire body from the colder months. Make sure to cover your head, neck, hands, and feet to keep them warm, as the cold affects your extremities first. In fact, 70% of heat loss occurs through these areas.

“You can really ruin your run by not protecting your extremities,” adds Murielle. “Personally, I always wear a hat (light or extra warm depending on the temperature), a neck warmer, and convertible gloves with a pocket that folds over the fingers.”

If the cold air gives you trouble, try breathing through a neck warmer.

Winter running: 10 essential tips


It’s important to keep your feet dry, prevent snow from getting into your shoes, and have a good grip on slippery ground in winter. We recommend sizing up to avoid any compression that could cool you down even more.
Murielle’s choice? “I run with Kalenji XT7 trail running shoes. They have a really good grip, even on snow and ice. Watch out for black ice! When it’s super cold, I also wear ski socks. Even if they get wet, they never feel cold.”

Man running near the house


“If you’re new to winter running, I recommend doing short loops of one kilometre or less in your neighbourhood. This is a good way to test your limits safely rather than going too far from home and getting caught out in the cold.”

It’s also perfect for testing out winter running outfits and finding what works for you!

You won’t feel as thirsty running in cold weather, but it’s still important to hydrate yourself during the winter season. Stash a small water bottle in an inner pocket (so it doesn’t freeze), and drink a few sips during and after your run. Remember, hydration is key!
“The same goes for food. Eat something like fruit paste bars, and keep them in an inner pocket,” advises Murielle.

Winter running: 10 essential tips


Running in winter often means running in the dark. Having the right gear to stay visible and see where you’re going is a must! Reflective bands are great, but your best bet is a headlamp or a chest light. Let us guide you with our selection of lights. 


Try Murielle’s technique: “In the winter, I always wear sunglasses. Snow reflects light, and it can hurt my eyes even when it’s cloudy. I also wear ski goggles when there’s a snowfall. They don’t fog up and my eyes stay warm… It’s perfect!“ 

Stretching after the stroke to avoid the shock of temperature transitions


Because your body temperature rises when you are pushed by the wind, it’s better to complete the second half of your run with the wind on your back. You will stay warm longer. Plus, if you’re tired, you’ll appreciate the little boost from the wind on your way back.


After an intense workout in the cold, it’s best to gradually transition to rest mode.

“Depending on the weather, I prefer to finish my run with a slow jog or a walk to lower my heart rate and avoid asthma before immediately stepping into a warm house. To help me release tension and avoid heat shock from a hot shower, I finish my training with a runner-specific yoga session.”

Now, it’s up to you to test these tips and techniques. To keep you motivated, let Murielle guide you with her last piece of advice.

What are the risks associated with winter running, and what are the solutions? 

1.  Risk of muscle and joint injuries due to the cold: Your muscles and joints may be more stiff in the cold weather, which increases the risk of injuries. 

Solution: To prevent injury, it is essential to warm up properly with dynamic stretches to loosen your muscles before running. After your run, take the time to stretch again to avoid any muscle tension or stiffness. Also, start your run at an easy pace to give your muscles a chance to adapt to the cold weather.  

2. Risk of slipping on icy or snowy surfaces: The sidewalks and running paths you normally use may be very slippery during the winter, which increases the risk of falling. 

Solution: To minimize this risk, opt for running shoes that are specially designed for winter running with anti-slip soles for better grip. Also, choose running paths that are well maintained and cleared of ice and snow. If this is not possible, consider using crampons on your shoes. 

3. Risk of hypothermia due to prolonged exposure to the cold: Running during the winter may lead to rapid loss in body temperature, which can be dangerous for your health. 

Solution: To face the winter weather and avoid hypothermia, dress in layers that will help trap your body heat. Wear technical clothing, like Merino wool, that wicks away moisture and choose materials with good insulation to keep you warm during your winter activity. Don’t forget to cover the extremities, like hands and ears, with good gloves and a hat. Be aware of any signs you are experiencing excessive cold, such as numbness or shivering, and if necessary take the time to stop and warm up.

 Murielle Chauviteeau running during winter

What are your best tips for staying motivated?

“First, I stay organized! My workouts are scheduled in my calendar; it’s time I set aside for myself. The night before, I make sure my workout clothes are layed out so I can be ready to go as soon as I wake up. That’s right, I run at dawn! When I’m getting ready for my run, it’s cold and dark, but I don’t think about it. I just go outside! Once I’m out the door, there’s no turning back. Even in the worst weather, I have not once regretted going out for a run. Each run brings a healthy dose of endorphins and dopamine. If I’m stressed or anxious, I go for a run! It always clears my mind of everything.”

- Murielle Chauviteau, Training leader at Decathlon Canada

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