The Ultimate Guide to Winter Trail Running

Winter Trail Running Core Merino South Africa

How to stay active in winter

The chill of winter has been making its way around South Africa for several weeks now and much as we prefer the long, dog days of summer, there still are plenty of great activities to do all winter long. In fact, one of our favourite winter outdoor activities is trail running. Avid trail runners know that the most beautiful aspects of winter trail running also add to the challenge. Our winter trail running tips will help you stay safe and comfortable as you enjoy trail running in colder temperatures.

Snag a friend

Even if you prefer to run solo, winter trails can get lonely. Trail running through the winter months with a friend (even one that is four-legged) keeps your mind off the cold, and is safer. If you can’t convince anyone else to hit the trail, make sure you let a family member or friend know where you are headed and when you plan to return.

Aim for a midday run

If you can, run when you have the best light. Saving your run for the middle of the day means that you will benefit from the most natural warmth and sunlight. If you must run early in the morning or late in the evening, be sure to carry an extra layer of clothes in case of icier temperatures.

Start out cold

If you are comfortably warm when you run, it is likely that you will quickly become overheated on the run. Dress as though it is 4-7 degrees warmer than it actually is, to have the optimum number of layers on. Once you get moving and your blood starts pumping, you will stay warm for the duration of your run.

Be sure to stay hydrated

Winter trail running can trick you into thinking you’re not working as hard, which can lead to dehydration. Hydrate before and after you run, and carry water with you on longer runs.

Our recommended gear

Depending on the day’s forecast, wear between two and three layers. Here’s a go-to system fit for the coldest days: 

If it is only moderately cold, swap out the jacket and if it is just a little chilly out, simply a long-sleeve shirt should do the trick. For winter running pants, consider leggings, especially if it’s a particularly cold day, and don’t forget to accessorize. A chilly trail run is far more enjoyable if your neck and ears stay warm, so we highly recommend our neck warmer which provides excellent, versatile protection for your neck, face and ears.

With these tips, you are ready to hit the trail in these nice crisp temperatures. Share your experience with us, we would love to hear from you. 


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