Winter Runner’s Land

by Julie Stackhouse

It seems as though since October all of the runners and fitness enthusiasts in the 904 have been waiting for winter running weather to arrive – until now!  Two weeks ago my advice on “winter running tips” was going to be pretty simple, “refer to summer running tips!”  It seems as though Old Man Winter has decided to show his face and bless us all with some cooler running weather.  Although it may have been a late start, according to the experts we are due for an intense El Nino event and perhaps a longer stretch of winter this year.  So what does this mean for your training?

Running during the winter months (January-early March typically) in Jacksonville doesn’t require as many thermal layers as most other regions this time of year, but it still involves some thoughtful consideration, especially for longer runs, workouts or races where you will be exposed to the elements for a while.


Gear Up, Get Out #1-5

Gear Up, Get Out #1-5

Cold Weather Guidelines – Remain motivated regardless of conditions:

  1. Keep your core warm – if your vital organs are warm enough then your body will allow warm blood to travel to the extremities.
  2. Cover your head – lightweight and technical fabrics trap just enough heat while also keeping your head dry.
  3. Protect your extremities, especially if you know you have poor circulation.
  4. Dress as though it’s 10-15 degrees warmer than it actually is outside – once you’ve warmed up this will keep you from being overdressed in the winter sun.
  5. Choose moisture-wicking layers – you can always shed layers as you go if necessary.
  6. Stay hydrated – just because it’s cooler doesn’t mean you don’t need to be cognizant of your usual hydration routine, especially during longer runs, workouts or races.
  7. Visibility – bright clothing with reflectors, attach blinking lights, etc. Safety first!
  8. Rainy conditions – wind and water-resistant (not proof)/breathable outer layer. I especially like to try to stay as warm and dry as possible prior to a race.  I won’t shed my layers until the last possible moment!
  9. Proper Warm-up – it is essential for injury-prevention to include a proper warm-up, perhaps even to extend your usual routine by several minutes or an extra mile.
  10. Plan ahead – Looking at the weekly forecast may help to plot your attack on weekly runs. When necessary, plan a cross training or strength training day indoors.
Gear Up, Get Out #6-8

Gear Up, Get Out #6-8

Gear Up, Get Out –  Simple items to keep you “on track” this winter:

  1. Vest – keeps your core warm without being bulky, allows for flexibility of arm movement. Our New Gilman Vest by Oiselle is light but all you need for a “Florida Winter.”
  2. Thermal or tight fitting under-layer. Featured is the Wazelle Long Sleeve by Oiselle that fits perfectly under a vest.
  3. Loose-fitting and light outer-layer. The men’s Breath Thermo by Mizuno generates heat to return warmth to the body.
  4. Hat, headband or beanie. The Greenlight Headband by Brooks is both reversible and retroreflective!
  5. Arm-warmers and gloves – some have “tech fingers” like the featured Pulse Lite Glove II by Brooks – ideal for racing because you can access your smartphone while keeping your hands warm and easily peel them off and tuck into your shorts.
  6. Compression socks – my new favorite! CEP offers a variety of styles, whether you need ultralight cushion like the Dynamic Compression Ankle Sock or need more focus on the calf like the Progressive Compression Knee High Sock. Once you try them, you’ll love them for both training and recovery.
  7. Hand-held water bottle or fuel belt. The Hydroform Jett – Lite Thermal by Amphipod is ultralight and reflective, fill it with fuel to keep you focused during your run like GU’s Electrolyte Brew.
  8. Head lamp or blinking lights and reflectors – Cute and functional magnetic assortment available like the Vizlet LED light by Amphipod. I like to clip one on the front and one on the back of my apparel.
  9. Thermos filled with your favorite post-run tea, coffee or hot beverage. America isn’t the only one who runs on Dunkin’! According to a recent study in Runner’s World, post-run drinks with a little caffeine and carbs may rebuild glycogen stores by 66% more than those with only carbs.
  10. Perfect running shoes – you can’t get anywhere without these! Neon is BIG right now so I picked my new favorites: the Women’s Gel DS Trainer and Men’s Gel Nimbus 17 by Asics.
Gear Up, Get Out #10

Gear Up, Get Out #10

Remember the 3 W’s:

  1. Warmth
  2. Wicking
  3. Windproof

Bonus Tip:  If your shoes become wet, stuff newspapers in them overnight and they will be completely dry by morning!  I also like to have a second pair to rotate for various training days.


Jacksonville Winter Races – Stay motivated with goals and accountability:

  1. Sunny Lovin’ 5k – 2/6/16
  2. Donna 26.2 Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k – 2/13 & 2/14
  3. Angry Tortoise 25k – 2/28/16
  4. Gate River Run 15k – 3/17/16 (training plans available – see below).


About the Author:

Julie Stackhouse is a performance running coach, competitive runner and triathlete and owner of Stackhouse Fitness ( with bachelors and masters degrees in Health and Exercise Science from Furman University and has been coaching on many different levels from novice to elite since 2001.  In 2015 she was the overall female winner of the Donna ½ Marathon, HITS Naples Full Ironman, Angry Tortoise 25k and 8 other races of various distances in the Jacksonville area.  Previously a Division I college track & field and cross country coach for over a decade, she now heads up the training aspects of the Jacksonville Running Company Sunny Runner Coaching Programs.  For further questions, advice or to purchase a personalized Gate River Run Training plan please contact  See you on the roads or trails soon!


JRC Product Styling by Tay Scheibe

Sunny Runner

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × 4 =