Running in Extreme Wet or Cold

Running in Extreme Wet or Cold

Beat the cold! Don’t let extreme cold and wet weather put a dent in your running training. Here are some tips that’ll have you facing the elements safely and comfortably in no time. 


In extreme cold and wet weather, running (and simply getting out of the house) is not only a challenge, it’s also a risk. Wearing the correct gear, planning and packing for all scenarios (including injury or getting delayed in the cold) and being visible are all great ways to increase your safety (and comfort) out on the trails or road, and hopefully inspire you to switch the snuggly pyjamas for a waterproof jacket and running shoes!


Keep your extremities warm

In extreme cold aim to keep your feet, hands and head (face, ears, crown) as warms as you can. Invest in winter shoes that have minimal mesh (Gore-tex) and socks that aim to wick moisture away from your skin while keeping your feet warm. Procure lightweight thermal gloves for your hands, and a buff or running balaclava for your face. If you’re wearing a buff around your neck and lower face, opt for a woolen hat to keep the crown of your head warm too. By keeping your extremities covered and protected from the cold and wet, your core temperature will stay higher for longer, allowing you more time to enjoy your session.


Wear layers

Fight the urge to leave home resembling a snowman, and rather adopt the layering approach when it comes to dressing for the weather. Despite being freezing when you start (and stop), the minute you get moving you’ll start to generate energy and heat and you’ll warm up quickly. If you’re wearing the incorrect gear, especially the type that isn’t breathable, you’ll trap all that heat inside your clothing and sweat, which will cool down as soon as you slow or stop resulting in a plummet in your core temperature. Wearing layers gives you flexibility to adapt your kit and clothing according to your speed, workout and the weather which in turn allows you to regulate your core temperature.


Have a good wind and rain jacket

In winter, it’s not a bad idea to carry a lightweight wind breaker or rain jacket on every run so that should the weather turn, you can keep your core warm and dry. If you’re a trail runner heading into the mountains, carry both, as weather can be unpredictable the higher up you run, and being prepared can literally save your life. When it comes to buying waterproof rain jackets, be sure to invest in one that is created with the best technology, has sealed seems and is certified to keep water and rain out, without compromising comfort and breathability. A wet core, and potentially wet gear –can be difficult to remedy when you’re outdoors training in the cold and rain.


Be visible

When running in rain, mist or snow, you want to be as visible as possible. This can be especially helpful if you run into trouble and someone is out looking for you, or to alert other winter- enthusiasts that you’re training too! Wear bright, neon colours and opt for wearable tech like the Lumaglo Crossbelt. The Crossbelt is a lightweight (4.8oz) LED belt that is designed to be worn during night time and winter activity. The colored LED lights can be set on different modes of brightness, and will certainly work to illuminate you during your training run. The Crossbelt (worn like a belt or sash) is designed to withstand cold weather and rain, making it the perfect partner for training in extreme weather!


Don’t forget to warm up, and warm down

Before a run, do a few stretches in the kitchen and get moving around your house while you get ready to tackle the extreme weather. A great and efficient way to get the blood flowing is to run up and down stairs, use a jump rope for a few minutes or if you’re into yoga, do a few sun salutations. Warming up your muscles before you run in the cold will decrease your risk of injury. When you’re done, be sure to change out of wet/cold gear as quickly as you can to avoid your core temperature dropping too much.


Bryony McCormick

I'm an adventure sport and travel writer. I'm an avid trail runner and mountain biker, aspiring adventurer and average surfer. I do yoga to stay sane, live a vegetarian lifestyle and sometimes prefer the company of my cat to actual humans. My heart belongs in the ocean and my soul in the mountains.