Getting Ready for Winter Running

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

My training for the Boston Marathon with Team Stonyfield starts right after the holidays, so I am getting ready for 16 weeks of preparation. (I still can’t believe I am running Boston. Ahhh! It’s a dream come true!) Up until now, I haven’t encountered any super cold weather””just one run in the low 30s and I survived””so now I am really trying to psych myself up for running in the cold New England weather. (I plan to do the majority of my runs””if not all”” outside.) That said, here’s my game plan for getting ready for winter running!


Putting some races on my calendar

I’m looking at a few road races to put on my calendar to keep me motivated throughout the winter. Racing is a lot of fun and they can double as long runs! On the top of my list: Hyannis Half Marathon + Black Cat 20-miler. Local peeps: Any other races that I should consider?

Signing up for an outdoor running challenge””with a group!

I signed up for the Marathon Sports Winter Warrior Challenge with some lovely ladies from KFIT. The Challenge is to run (or walk) OUTSIDE every day for 31 days in January. Having some buddies to run with and knowing that people on my team are running outside too will push me to get moving as well.

Literally gearing up

Having the right gear for winter running makes it so much more bearable! I remember training for my first marathon in December and January and having no idea how to dress for my runs. Once I figured it out, I was so much happier out in the cold. (Side note: It’s been awhile, so I’m trying to figure out what gear works best for me now, so I’ll share my favorites in a post in the coming weeks.)

Mentally minimizing the cold weather (aka “don’t be a wuss”)

Mal’s favorite advice to me (with regard to a lot of things in life, actually) is “don’t be a wuss.” When you think about winter training, it’s JUST a little bit of cold weather, ya know? It’s not like it’s the end of the world. I just need to mentally minimize the effects of the cold weather when I am thinking about running outside. And then, of course, think warm thoughts!

Just doing it

I’ve already thought about my method for getting out the door when it’s really cold outside: Get dressed, throw my outer layer of clothing in the dryer, when warm: put them on, and then literally run out of the door of my house in the cold. JUST DO IT! No looking back! Haha! I figure if I’m semi-warm and running, I’ll warm up in no time!

Question of the Day

What are your tips and tricks for training in cold weather? I’d LOVE to hear from those of you who have trained for a marathon in the winter months!

P.S. Check out my Q&A on the Stonyfield Blog: Stonyfield’s Boston Marathon Team: Meet Tina from Carrots N’ Cake!



  1. My tip is to do a little warm up inside the house before heading out the door. I find it takes my muscles longer in the colder weather to properly warm up so I would do jumping jacks, walk up and down my stairs or just dance around and then when I went out the front door I can just start running.

  2. I always overdress for cold weather runs! I hate being cold at the beginning so I pile on the clothes, but then I end up overheating after a couple miles :~/

  3. I’ve trained for four Bostons in Boston. It really isn’t bad- just wear gloves and a headband on your ears. Pack tissue. Watch out for ice. I actually did my first fall marathon this year (Chicago) and MUCH prefer winter running.

  4. Layers and pockets to store them in. Anything under 20F I cover my nose and mouth, below 10F I double up on tights/pants and I wear full length ski socks over my calves, below 0F I 1)cry 2) forget about speed 3)usually have 3 layers of Under Armour.

  5. Running or walking outdoors in the winter is all mental. I always remind myself that yes it will feel cold at first, but once I warm up I won’t notice the cold. Once you’re moving it doesn’t really feel cold and it feels so refreshing to breathe in the cold air and be outdoors. It’s a lung detox.

  6. Do you have any tiPs for running when it’s icy in spots? People around here are terrible about clearing the sidewalks and it can get treacherous! I’d love some safety advice!

  7. Overdress. I usually run a loop or out and back route, so if I need to take off layers, I’ll pass them again on my way home (I’ll stash them in bushes or something near the road I’m on). I would much rather dress too warm and take off layers, then be cold the whole time. Also, spending the money on the right gear is important. A beanie that has wicking material inside (regular beanies absorb the sweat and then get freezing cold, doing nothing), real running gloves, and a good jacket are the three staples I’ve found to help most. Most of everything else you can layer as needed!

  8. I also “literally” run out my front door in the winter! No standing for me! I trained for Boston last winter with the overwhelming majority of runs being outside, and there’s something about getting pumped about Boston that had me really loving it even in the worst weather. I’m having a harder time with motivation this winter with no goal race on the horizon, and the weather hasn’t been nearly as bad. There’s just something so exciting about training for Boston that had me really committed.

  9. I actually prefer running in the winter because I feel so awful in the heat, but I love your idea of putting clothes in the dryer. I also find that if I get in all my gear and stretch and do weights/abs before I go outside, I am warmer and warm up quicker. I am a BIG proponent of gloves/hats, too. You just have to remind yourself for the first mile that you WILL warm up! Watch out for those ice spots, though!

  10. I trained for a half marathon 2 winters ago, and the biggest thing for me was to set up a route that allowed me to run back by my car/house by around the 4 mile mark. That way if I needed to add more layers/take layers off/etc, I had the ability to do so instead of stressing about it for another 8+ miles (or 15+ in your case!)

  11. Oh my gosh, cold weather training is such a challenge for me too – mentally possibly more than physically. You’re right that the appropriate gear makes a huge difference (I learned that running through chilly DC when I was living there), and it can be kind of nice to workout outside when it’s cold. I draw the line at 30 degrees and below, though, and since I no longer live on the east coast, it’s easier to stick it out for training runs outside. 😉

  12. I find wearing the right clothes on my early morning runs makes all the difference. And drinking a cup of coffee before works too …then I just do it! I feel so much better afterwards

  13. Do you have access to an indoor track? I’ve always found that helpful to run shorter distances indoors and, if the weather is terrible and too cold, I can break up long runs indoors.

  14. Hopefully you will be able to do some of your runs mid-day! I find that the hardest part for me with winter running is having to do my run before work (when it’s dark and freezing) or after work (when it is dark and freezing). I much prefer to run outside in the cold when there’s at least some sun or light out. I find it makes a big difference, but I can only do that on the weekends. Other than that, good cold weather gear helps a lot and not letting the winter get to you mentally. I’ve run outside through many New England/Boston winters and I actually don’t mind running in a little snow- it’s the ice and the extremely cold temps like last winter that make it difficult. You kind of have to work your schedule around the weather, but it looks like you are already a step ahead with your planning and preparation. Good luck!

  15. The Black Cat Course is pretty and mostly flat. It’s a great race.
    I ran 3 Bostons and I highly recommend joining a running club do group long runs. They provide support and water stops every few mile and running with a group does make the miles go by.

  16. I tell myself to go at least a 1/2 mile and if I’m still cold, I can go back. I never do. Love my Under Armour! I run all winter long in Michigan.

  17. Well, I can’t say I’ve ever trained for a full marathon in the dead of winter, but I do encounter some less than desirable temperatures during my runs from time to time. For me, I know that above everything else, when my hands are cold, I have a hard time focusing on anything else. So my tip is to identify your “weakest” cold area and make sure to keep that warm. Everything else won’t be as bad in comparison. 🙂

  18. I agree with lots of other comments here- drink coffee first to warm your insides, don’t wear too much- cover hands and ears! I trained for a half in the winter but I live in East Tennessee, which is much more mild. Nonetheless, it also helps I love running in the cold! Good luck! You can do it!

  19. You should definitely sign up for L Street in Southie. It is the best group to do long runs with, they will definitely keep you motivated.

  20. I’ve only trained for halfs before… this is my first winter training for a full! I’d say Yak Trax and a little bit of flexibility are important… those times when you get like an inch of snow every day are the worst, because not everyone can get to it to shovel it in time, and it starts to get packed down and a little icy. So Yak Trax are good for that. And there are times when it’s just too cold (like below 0* windchill) or the snow is too deep to run, so you have to roll with the punches and sometimes rearrange long runs.
    When running in Yak Trax or in deep snow… you’ll be very slow.
    I love the idea of warming up inside!

  21. I prefer cold weather over hot weather when it comes to running…My only fear is ice…I have had some pretty nasty wipe outs…. I have no advice other covering your head….

  22. You can do it! I trained for the Rock n Roll USA Half all last (horrific) winter, and while the first few long runs were brutal, you get used to it. Just keep trucking on! Hand warmers and feet warmers (the disposable kind) were lifesavers for me. You can buy them in bulk at BJ’s or Costco. Good luck!!

  23. So exciting! If you are looking for more local races the New Bedford Half Marathon in March is a great option and there is a 16 miler in Derry, NH in January that is fun.
    The Marathon Sports challenge sounds like a great way to stay motivated and get outside. I am going to look into that!

  24. I’d vote for trying to stay flexible. 🙂 winters in Wisconsin can be really rough, and I don’t mind the cold at all. I run outside even when it’s below zero, but when it’s icy, I won’t risk an injury from a slip or fall. A couple spring marathons ago, I ended up having to do my last long run inside due to an ice storm that made things slippery for several days. 24 miles on a treadmill was a major test! I admire your excitement to run outside in the winter, but go easy on yourself if it’s safer to run inside. I think it’s okay to be a wuss when it comes to ice. 🙂

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