Epic Tips for Running in the Winter

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

A couple of weeks ago we introduced the latest heroines to join MI OLA WORLD. New ambassador and pathfinder, Jen @flentil is an avid runner and mom to an awesome young boy.

Jen currently is training for the Boston Marathon in April and consequently is logging some miles in snowy, cold Pennsylvania. We recently caught up with this inspirational mermaid to get some tips for running in the Winter.


Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil


Running in the Winter by Jen Panetta

MI OLA mermaids love the hot sun, sand and water…but not all of us get that 365 days a year.  If you’re like me, you live where it gets cold.

I love to run all year long, but that doesn’t mean it is always easy. Winter can be tough! In late fall and early winter, we’re all fa-la-la excited!   Holiday wreaths and lights. It’s beautiful. It’s festive. Life is good and winter running is easy.

Fast forward a month or two. The holidays are over. It’s dark in the morning and the brisk air is now a bleak, biting windchill of -10. You are sick of wearing nothing but snow boots and you’ve moved up a size in jeans because of all that hot chocolate and stuff.

You’re not alone if you feel like your mojo is at an all-time low. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Getting in a run outside is 100% possible and enjoyable with a few simple steps to prepare before you #GetOutThere!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil in our Pin Up Top & Super Cheeky Bottom

You’ll be amazed at what time outside can do to help ward off the winter blues and energize you for the rest of your day.

Over the years, I’ve found a few tips that help make cold weather runs less about surviving and more about enjoying!

Ten Tips for Running in the Winter – How to Stay Stoked!

1.  Wind-proof yourself

The thing that makes us feel coldest is the biting wind. It can be a real zinger! Donning a wind-proof jacket and a pair of tights with wind panels on the front can make a huge difference. Try to devise your route so you’re running into the wind in the early stages of the run. Hitting the wind later on, when you have worked up a sweat and your layers may be damp, can really create a chill that is tough to ward off. Keep your extremities warm.


Photo by Sugoi

2.  Keep your extremities warm

It’s amazing how much better you feel if your head, hands, and feet are warm. A balaclava keeps cold air off your face, ears and neck. Add a hat on top. It also helps you look less like a bank robber.


Photo by Sugoi

Women especially, often struggle with cold hands and feet. Usually, I wear a pair of gloves with a windproof mitten over the top. If it’s super cold, I’ll wear ski mittens.

For my feet…a pair of wool running socks. My best trick on a windy day is putting saran plastic wrap over my toes so my feet are wind-proofed. Works like a charm! Put the plastic wrap between your socks and the shoe, NOT between your socks and your feet. You’ll wind up with a sweaty, wrinkly mess.

3.  Dress in Layers and never wear cotton!

You can usually get away with one quality base layer. Maybe a second layer and a jacket if you really get cold.

Just in case you’re tempted to throw on a cotton t-shirt underneath: don’t do it! Cotton soaks up sweat like a sponge and before you know it, you’ll have a wet layer against your skin. You will be cold and also chafe your skin, which is really painful.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

4.   Don’t overdress

It’s easy to want to wear a huge parka when you first step outside, but in a mile or two, you will be melting and sweating buckets. When you step outside, get going right away. Don’t stand around getting cold. Give yourself 10-15 minutes and you’ll feel a LOT better.

5.   Wear reflective/hi-vis clothing and get a headlamp

Not everyone has the opportunity to get their run in during daylight with winter’s shorter days. A headlamp solves this problem. Wear a reflective vest so you can be seen from behind as well as from the front. I can’t emphasize the importance of reflective gear enough, especially if you are on the roads.

I worked in running retail and many people were reluctant to buy a reflective vest because they thought it looked stupid. First of all: no one can see your outfit – it’s DARK, remember? And second: You know what is stupid? Getting hit by a car because they couldn’t see you!

6.  Pay attention to hydration and keep fluids thawed

It’s really important to pay attention to hydration in the winter. The colder temps make it easy to forget about drinking enough. If you find yourself neglecting this really important aspect of distance running, use your watch. Set it to chime every 20 minutes as a reminder to take a drink. Just because you don’t feel hot doesn’t mean you aren’t getting dehydrated.

To keep your fluids thawed, try stashing your pack under some of your clothing. My girlfriend wears an oversize running jacket that allows her to fit her entire water pack underneath. I take the water line from my Camelbak and run it down my coat collar, under my shirt and thread it under my jog bra strap so it’s right against my chest, to ensure it stays thawed. Whatever works!


Photo by Camelbak

7.  Minimize and Protect exposed skin

Make sure your socks are tall enough to cover your ankles and that there’s no gaping between your gloves and jacket.

Smearing Vaseline over your face is a great way to ensure you don’t get chapped or wind burned.


Photo by Vaseline

8.  Hot Hands

Not just for hands! These little pocket hand warmers don’t really work for your hands while running. If they get damp they don’t heat up. But they are super handy for other things.

I typically bring a Camelbak on my longer runs. I stuff about 4-5 of these in my pack to keep my phone from freezing up and my gels thawed out. Works like a charm for several hours.

9.  Find a running group or buddy. You may even find your next surf pal!

It’s always easier to push yourself out the door when you know you have someone to meet, be it one buddy or a whole group. Talking with a pal takes your mind off the chill and makes the time fly by.

Jen and Missy

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

Find a running club in your local area. If you are new to the area, see if there is a local running store. They are often the best resource to learn about the best places to run and groups to join. And by the way, runners are always game for a good adventure. Everyone who has learned surfing with me, are women I met through running!

10.  Don’t forget to look around

Winter has its own beauty and if you pay attention, there are often lots of animals on the move, especially on trails and in more rural areas.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

Clear wintry night skies offer great chances to see shooting stars and frosty, sparkly sunrises. A run on a glorious, sunny morning right after a fresh blanket of snow has fallen is truly spectacular.

Dress right, so you can really be in the moment to appreciate the winter scenery instead of thinking about cold toes.

Enjoy winter in all its glory. Meanwhile, no better time to book a trip somewhere warm. You’ll be confidently pulling out your MI OLA BIKINI, fit and ready for warm weather adventures!

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MI OLA BIKINI BUNDLE by Ambassador Jen @flentil


Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

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