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Nine classic mistakes beginner runners make in the winter

So you just took up running. Prevent yourself from making any of these classic winter mistakes this season

Everyone was a beginner once. For some, now is the time for learning the ropes and taking the dive into running. If you happen to know a newbie runner who is getting into the sport for the first time this season, warn them of the classic faux-pas that beginners tend to make during this frigid season. Let them learn from our mistakes by avoiding these winter running traps:  

RELATED: 14 experiences that only Canadian runners have in winter


When the mercury plummets, many people’s first instinct is to pile on the layers. When dressing for a run though, the general rule of thumb is to dress as if it were 10 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. Bulky, heavily lined jackets may feel comfortable for the first few minutes of your run but once warmed up, you’ll be wishing for a lighter outer layer. 


Similarly, not wearing enough clothing for the winter miles is a sure buzz kill. Dressing in your fall wardrobe won’t cut it when the winds are at their most notorious. Having quality staple items like a solid base layer, wind-proof outer layer, and cozy mid-layer is of the utmost importance.

Straying too far from home

When planning the route, staying local is wise. While it can be tempting to plan a long, adventurous route over to the next town or across the city, that plan could turn into a disaster when a snowstorm hits or a fall on the ice has a runner wanting to call it quits. In these weather conditions, staying close to home has its merits. If venturing out, keep a bus pass or cab fare handy. 

Trying out that trail in horrible conditions 

Sure, the trails may be calling and while we encourage getting out and being active in this winter wonderland, checking the conditions ahead of time is a must. The mental image may be of running through a postcard scene, but if the reality is getting stuck on a dangerous ice-covered path, the day will be a miserable one. 

Failing to see the beauty of winter shoes

Not all running shoes are created equal. There’s a reason why in Canada, we task ourselves with reviewing the best winter shoes. When tackling winter roads, runners need solid lining and fantastic grip. 

RELATED: 2017-18 winter shoe guide.

Failing to properly research the route

The last thing anyone needs while out on a winter run is to get lost halfway through. Plan wisely and pay attention to detail. A piece of advice for these months: run the routes you know well. 

Setting out to run fast

Paces slow down when the roads are snowy. That’s just a fact. If the plan is to hit the exact same paces as you did in the middle of summer, your expectations may need some… revising. Accept the conditions for what they are and don’t stress about what the watch says. 

Not wearing reflective wear

Visibility should be top on the list of concerns for runners during this time of year. When our days are at their darkest and towering snowbanks and whiteout storms block drivers’ vision, runners need to wear bright clothing with reflective detailing so as to be noticeable by those behind the wheel.  

RELATED: How visible of an outfit can we assemble?

Not investing in the right gloves

Don’t let the fingers freeze. Winter running gloves are often on the skimpy side. If the light pair just isn’t cutting it, browse in your local outdoor shop’s ski wear section to find a quality pair.