How to Run in the Treacherous Snow and Ice – safely!

It’s winter, and that means snow. Lots of snow. It can be a little intimidating to think about running in the snow, but it doesn’t have to be! In this blog post, I’ll share some tips for running in the snow and ice so you can run year-round without fear.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking for new ways to improve your technique, these tips will help keep you safe on snowy days so you can enjoy every run!

First up are some general tips for staying warm during cold-weather runs. There’s nothing worse than leaving your house feeling great only to find out after five minutes into your workout that you didn’t dress properely.

1) Dress for the weather

This means layering your clothing, wearing a hat and gloves, and finding the right running shoes to get you through snow and ice without slipping or sliding. You can also buy products that will help make running in the snow more comfortable like Yaktrax®

Layer your clothing in case you get warm and cold more easily than other people.

– When going outside with wet hair, use a hat if possible as this can help keep heat from escaping while also keeping your head warm. Consider using earmuffs instead of headphones if there’s any chance wind could pass through the headphone wires and disrupt them during your workout session if the terrain becomes dangerous in the snow and ice just walk back to safety and find an alternate route.

– Keep your hands warm by wearing gloves, placing hand warmers in them (i.e., microwavable packets wrapped in foil) before starting your workout session

It depends on how long you’ll be running for but generally speaking runners want a lightweight base layer that wicks away sweat with an outer windproof jacket or shell. A hat (or headband) along with gloves helps keep heat close to your skin while waterproof footwear keeps feet dry and warm! You may even consider packing snowshoes depending on where you live since they’re great for those snowy days when running just isn’t going to work out.

Related:  Top Notch, Handpicked Earbuds That Won’t Fall Out While You Run

2) Be careful Where you step while running

Run-on packed snow or ice to avoid slipping and sliding. If you still want a softer surface, run on compacted snow which is easier for your feet to grip (or even find an indoor treadmill!)

– Keep running with the same form as if it weren’t snowy out! It can be tempting to “run funny” in order not fall down but this will just make things worse when you do slip and slide around

– Use both hands while running so that one isn’t always trying to balance yourself from falling overstay safe by using two hands!

3) How to run up snowy/icy hills

– Start at the bottom of the hill. This will give you more time to run up it and get momentum.

– Keep your hands on top of each other or out in front, whichever keeps them warmest! You want to use your arms for balance but not drag them through any snow

– Bend down when going uphill as this will help you stay balanced while running. Stand straight when running downhills so that gravity can do its job a bit better

Avoid slippery areas: – If there are ice patches ahead, try to avoid these by slowing down (or even stopping) before they come into view if possible

– Look around for anything like metal plates or boards which might have been placed on an icy patch in order

Run with the wind: Depending on which way you’re running, try to run either with the wind or against it. If possible change directions often

Related: Proper Running Form For All Terrains

4) Shorten your running stride.

Longer running strides can leave you exposed to potentially harmful slippage and falling because your foundation (legs) is further away from your center. In addition, to maintain a longer stride, you will need to propel yourself higher off the ground, which causes a heavier impact when you ultimately land and a higher chance of a misstep. Shortening your stride and keeping your feet lower to the ground will protect you from the dangers of slipping and falling in snow and ice.

5) be careful where you step while running on ice and snow

– Be careful where you step while running on ice and snow.

– If there are ice patches ahead, try to avoid these by slowing down (or even stopping) before they come into view if possible

– Look around for anything like metal plates or boards which might have been placed on an icy patch in order

– Depending on which way you’re running, try to run either with the wind or against it. If possible change directions often

Related: What Is the Most Ethical Running Shoe That Is Best For the Environment?

6) If possible, select a running route that has minimal snow and ice

If you are not sure about the conditions, check with a local running club or ask on social media for recommendations of run routes that have been well maintained during inclement weather

– Select a running route that is well cleared of snow and ice.

Running in slippery, snow-covered streets is a challenge during any season. But when it’s freezing outside, you need extra precautions, or else you run the risk of slipping on the ice while running. The following article will cover two important things that every runner should do before they hit the sidewalk this winter–if not just because they want to stay safe, at least so their feet don’t freeze off!

7) Protect your extremities.

When embarking on an outdoor run in bitterly cold temperatures, do not neglect your hands, feet, ears, and face. These areas of your body are furthest from your heart, which means it takes more energy for blood to flow there. This is only exacerbated when you are running because your large muscles are hogging all of the blood in your body to keep you moving. Gloves, socks, hats or ear coverings, and face masks that wick away sweat are crucial.

– If you plan to run after work, be sure to dress in layers so when the sun goes down or it starts snowing, your body will have time to adjust by removing some clothes until you’re at an appropriate level for outdoor activity (i.e., dress warmer than what feels comfortable). Also, try wearing light colors because they are more forgiving of temperature fluctuations.

Related: What Should I Wear When I Run? A Beginner’s Guide

8) Stay hydrated when running in the cold

– Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day as well as sipping water while running outdoors in cold temperatures. You can also bring along electrolyte beverages such as Gatorade Endurance Formula which contains carbohydrates and sodium to help maintain performance at higher levels when exercising outside during the winter months

9) Don’t run outside when it’s too cold

– Generally speaking, if the temperature reaches -25C or lower it is not safe to run outside.

Though some hardy souls will run outside in these conditions, most people are not so brave and should stay out of the cold.

For a complete guide to cold weather running, check out:

Related: How To Run In The Cold Weather – A Beginner’s Guide

10) Save hard running workouts and speed workouts for the treadmill

If you’re a runner, find the time for your hard workouts on the treadmill. You’ll still get the same benefits without risking frostbite or slipping and sliding around.

Use your good judgment. If temperatures are below freezing, or it looks like a blizzard outside, today might not be the best day for an outdoor run. Though it might not be ideal, you should err on the side of caution when you can and take your run inside. Don’t worry, the weather will clear and you will be hitting the trails again before you know it.

Nothing beats an outdoor run, and there is no reason you have to give that up just because of snow and ice. As long as you put your safety first, you can keep pounding the pavement no matter the season.

Related: Is Running On A Treadmill Physically Bad For You?

11) Don’t skip the warm-up

Your muscles will have a hard loosening up once you get outside in the cold weather, so make sure to give yourself enough time to warm up inside before you head out. Doing this will keep you agile and flexible while running on rough ground, which is when you might need to be the most.

12) Slow down

As a runner, you want a killer workout, but when running in the snow and ice, safety is more important. Plan to run at a slower pace than you usually would during warm weather and watch where you step. If you can’t tell if that spot on the pavement is ice or not, assume that it is and stop to walk over it. You can pick back up once you know you are in clear, and you won’t have to deal with a twisted ankle or worse! Now, this does not mean you can’t get a killer workout in! To accommodate for the slower pace, you can add mileage.

Related: What is the LSR Run – Why Is It Important?

13) The Sun Is Your Friend

Daylight hours are shorter during the winter season, which means you could be running in dim light or no light at all. In this case, running without a source of light is a recipe for disaster. To see where you are going and so that others can see you as well, light yourself up by wearing reflective gear and using a headlamp or flashlight. You will be glad you did when you avoid that patch of ice.

Related: How To Become A Morning Runner In 12 Simple Steps?

14) Wear the right shoes for running in the snow and ice

Running in cold weather can be a challenge at times with snow falling on your face or ice preventing you from using regular shoes. However, there are some simple things that runners can do to stay safe. Here are some tips about how to prepare for different types of winter conditions:

Winter shoe options

When dealing with slippery surfaces such as snow or ice runners should opt for designated winter footwear which offers more traction and ankle support than their summer counterparts. There are many brands of winter running shoes available including Saucony’s ISO Freedom model (reviewed here), Nike Snowboarding Air Zoom Wildhorse XC spikes, Under Armour Speed

  • Saucony Peregrine 11
  • On Cloudventure Waterproof
  • The North Face VECTIV
  • New Balance Hierro
  • On Cloud Waterproof
  • HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat
  • Brooks Cascadia GTX 15
  • Brooks Ghost 13 GTX
  • Altra Timp 2.0


Taking the utmost precaution when running during winter conditions is of paramount importance, and doing so will help ensure that you can continue breathing in the fresh air while you run all year round!

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Coach Scott's Credentials:
  • Published Author
  • RRCA Certified Running Coach (Level 2)
  • RRCA Certified Youth Running Coach
  • NASM CPT (Certified Personal Trainer).
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  • NASM WLS (Weight Loss Specialist)
  • ACE SFC (Stretching and Flexibility Coach)
  • ACE GFI (Group Fitness Instructor)
He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 22nd half marathon race. 

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