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Running IN the Cold?  Gear Needed!

Usually, after 8-9 months of challenging running and calisthenics based workouts (see Solstice Plan), I am ready for a few months of non-impact aerobics of indoor swimming and biking for cardiovascular workout options.  However, this year, I have tested out some gear during the 30 degrees days of the past month and feel like pushing it a little during the winter months. During the Holiday seasons of festive foods, endless football, and huge meals even the most avid exerciser can pick up a few pounds.  Here are some tips to continue pushing yourself through the winter “hibernation” days. 


Pace Yourself - Build up to exercising in the cold temperatures.  It is more difficult to do any cardiovascular activity when you are used to 60-70 degrees one day and try to run or walk in 20-30 degrees the next.  So, over the course of 4-6 weeks, do workouts outside as the weather changes.  For instance, starting in October / November you were probably seeing colder weather of 40-50 degrees depending on your location.  By December / January, if you continued to exercise outside, you might have gotten used to 30-40 degree weather.  As with anything, pace yourself and do not expect to go from 70 degrees one day and enjoy a 30 degree workout the next.   It is always colder in the Am / Pm so try to get some cardio at the “heat” of the day in the early afternoon if it fits your schedule.

Shoes - If you are going to run year round.  You need a good pair of shoes.  In fact you should be on your 3-4th pair of shoes in 12 months of running regularly.  I have found a winter running shoe made by UK Gear ( called PT-03.  When I received these in the mail, I was shocked that a pair of shoes could be inside a box that is so light.  These are built for injury prone runners with decades of research on British Military members.  In fact, I am not even wearing my orthodic inserts as they are designed to help a variety of overuse injuries caused by over-pronation or supination for example.  I found a large variety on at good prices and free shipping.  ALSO - did I mention the winter running shoe is also water proof!  That helped sell me on getting them as there is nothing worse than starting out a cold run with cold / wet feet. 

Hands and Head - You have to keep both your hands and head warm if you want to stay warm.  On Ibex Wear ( I found some great gloves as well as a hood to wear to cover my head and face if needed.  Another option for those who have a tough time breathing in the cold is to try a mask using BreathXchange technology.   I have not tried these but a few of my running buddies swear by them for being able to better handle the cold air in / out nose / mouth / throat.

Other Cold Weather Tips -   If you choose to workout outdoors in below freezing weather, be careful with ice and snow if walking fast or running.  Pay attention to wind chill warnings and double check to have no exposed skin.  Too many injuries occur just from carelessness in the ice and snow.  Lastly, know when to go indoors and warm up.  Avoid numbness in hands and feet, slurred speech, uncontrollable shaking or shivering.  This could be the start of frostbite or hypothermia which is deadly if not observed properly.

See Cold Weather Workout Video

  Stay Safe and Stay Fit During the Cold.  Good luck and feel free to email me.

Fight Science Special Ops with Stew Smith

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the
Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at


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Published Books / DVDs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?

  Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Become a TRX Trainer   

 TRX Train Like the Pros


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