What It Takes To Run Safely This Winter

aSweatLife is headquartered in Chicago, and so many of the aSweatLife Ambassadors live in the city that prides itself on not putting ketchup on hot dogs and the lake effect. At the time of writing, this city has once again found itself in a violent and sudden snap from summer to winter.

It’s usually just after we celebrate the running of the Chicago Marathon that this seasonal transition happens – just in time for thousands of spectators to catch the running bug. 

So if you’re lacing up in the colder months with less daylight for the first time, we want you to be prepared. Last winter, Sarah Kelly wrote the comprehensive guide to preparing for winter running. We’d recommend bookmarking that. This guide to winter running has everything you need to consider – from gear, to timing, to street conditions, to signs of hypothermia.

Above all else, when you’re running in the winter, we think there are three very important safety categories that you should think about before you even consider your pace.  

1. Staying warm without overheating.

Lightweight layers are your best friend in winter and exposed skin is not on the guest list. Take advantage of the fact that tall socks are in again and cover up even your ankle skin. I like to think of my winter running attire in three layers

Base layer (underwear and sports bra): As thick or as thin as you’d like, this layer can be regular underwear all the way up to long underwear if the temperature calls for it. You want your base layer to be moisture wicking, according to Fleet Feet, to move sweat away from your body.

Coverage (socks, pants and long sleeves): these are the clothes that protect your skin from being exposed to the elements. A big group of aSweatLife ambassadors recently received the Nathan Dash top. A lot of us opted for the long-sleeve variety for cold weather running and here’s what some ambassadors had to say. 

“The long sleeve I received helped me run on a chilly morning without any extra layering. Definitely performed better than expected.” -Alex C 

“I fell in LOVE with the long sleeve running shirt. The fabric is buttery smooth and the relaxed but flattering fit is super comfy.” -Pryscilla Bolander

I have the Interval Running tights too, which come in the perfect thickness for winter running. They’re thick enough to feel substantial, but thin enough so you don’t feel like you’re running in sweatpants. Five stars.

Outerwear (hat, gloves and jacket): This layer is about keeping you warm and dry, especially where you need the most heat – your torso, where your vital organs are – and where the most heat escapes like your head and hands. 

Some of us also received the BFF puffer jacket from Nathan, which I’ve been loving to get to and from my preferred workouts: studio fitness classes. To be honest, I’m actually wearing mine as I type this – it’s warm and lightweight. Here’s what some Ambassadors had to say about the piece.

“​​The puffer coat is very flattering and warm while feeling lightweight.” -Natalie Bielski

“Bff jacket gave me the warmth I needed in my commute through high winds and snow.” -Daisy Diaz

2. Staying hydrated.

In cities like Chicago, where outdoor running paths padlock their bathrooms and turn off their drinking fountains, hydration is completely the responsibility of the runner. And for a lot of reasons, your thirst response is different in colder weather than in the warmer temperatures. You absolutely should not wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate in cold weather. 

Carrying your own water may feel like dead weight, but you should always have it on you in the winter. You can pack your own in a waist pack, in a handheld bottle, or in a vest. Whatever you choose, just make it really easy on yourself to carry water, and have a plan to drink about 5 ounces every 15 minutes, or up to 30 ounces an hour.

3. Seeing and being seen.

The winter is marked by more darkness in general and shorter days. And we’re not here to tell you how to feel about that, but we’d suggest embracing the long cold days as an opportunity to be cozy. Either way, there’s a pretty high chance that if you’re running before or after work, you’re going to be putting one foot in front of the other in the dark.

So you can see the terrain in front of you, think about adding a headlamp to your gear. And so other people can see you, think about wearing reflective gear. You can either purchase hats and gloves with reflective strips built in or wear a reflective vest (the kind your parents would definitely feel better with you wearing).

Enter for a chance to win!

However you log your miles or get in your workouts this winter, do it with fun and safety in mind first. And to help you do it, we’re giving you an opportunity to win one of the three prize packs from Nathan Sports to help you layer, hydrate, or see and be seen.


About Jeana Anderson Cohen

Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of asweatlife.com a premiere wellness media destination that creates content and community to help womxn live better lives and achieve their goals. Before founding health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison - and fresh out of college she worked on the '08 Obama campaign in Michigan. From there, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience in building community and her passion for wellness. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, trying to join a book club, and walking her dog Maverick.

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