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Most common winter running mistakes

Winter running pitfalls to avoid during the colder months

Winter Running Injuries

Winter running is a dark art. From the gear, to the route, to the temperature, everything requires a little more consideration in the cold. 

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Here are the most common winter running mistakes and our suggestions to help you avoid these cold weather pitfalls. 


Wearing too many layers, especially if they’re not breathable, can trap sweat and actually end up making you colder instead of keeping you warm. Start with a technical layer and add on top of it as needed. 

Cold Weather Running

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On the other hand, you want to avoid underdressing. Make sure you layer and finish with a jacket that cuts the wind. Also, consider purchasing some winter running underwear as an extra bottom layer. Keeping your glutes firing is very important for injury prevention, and a first layer of tights shorts or warm underwear and help with that. 

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Forgetting about hats, mitts and covering your face

The right mitts, hats and neck warmers can go a long way. While you still need to breathe properly during your run, consider starting with a buff or neck warmer for the first 10 minutes. You can easily pull it down or throw it in your pocket as you warm up. In terms of hats and mitts, it’ll likely take a bit of experimentation to see what you prefer, but ensure you wear something to keep you hands and head warm. 

Quitting too early 

A winter run doesn’t usually feel comfortable until about 10 minutes in. If you’re feeling crappy out of the gate, stay close to home and see if you warm up. Give it 10 to 15 minutes, and if you’re still feeling terrible, you can call it quits. But when it’s really cold outside, the first few steps are guaranteed to feel rough. 

Run Ridge Run
Photo: Coast Mountain Trail Series/Instagram

Considering your route

The run you do in the warmer months might not always work out in the winter. Depending on how well the trails and roads are maintained, you can run into some issues while running on your favourite routes.

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Not respecting mother nature

Most days you can brave the conditions, but when it comes to ice, consider taking your run inside. A very icy road can lead to a slip and fall or overusing muscles to keep you stable. One run on the treadmill is so much better than an injury that takes you out for a few weeks.