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6 Winter Running Warm-Up Exercises

Woman doing a plank in a gym.
Karla Tafra

Whether you’re new to running or a seasoned aficionado, you should never forget to warm up. And when the weather temperatures drop and it takes much more for your body to adjust, warming up becomes even more important. Check these six exercises off your to-do list before you start logging those miles this winter!

Jumping Squats

Nothing gets your heart rate up like the good, old jumping squats. They will get your blood pumping and elevate your body temperature quicker than you can imagine, getting you ready to sprint away.

Start in a standing position, feet separated at a hip-width distance. Inhale and engage your core muscles, exhale and come into a squat position, hips low and back. Inhale, and on your next exhale, jump vertically into the sky, exploding from your feet. Ensure your core muscles and legs are active, and try to get as soft as you can on your descent to avoid injury. Go for 15-20 repetitions.

Resistance Bands Set

This complete set allows you to make the most of your workouts wherever you are.

Jumping Jacks

Another easy and efficient warm-up exercise, jumping jacks ensure you increase your overall range of motion, from head to toe.

Start in a standing position, feet separated at a hip-width distance. Engage your core muscles and on your inhale, jump into a wider stance. Exhale and jump to the center position, feet together. Inhale and jump out, exhale and jump in. Keep your pace moderate or speed it up if you want a challenge. Go for 20-30 reps.

Running headband

Keeps the sweat away from your face.

Mountain Climbers

Get your abs burning with this powerful warm-up exercise. Start in a plank position, wrists right under your shoulders, toes under heels, and hips in line with your entire body. Activate your core and push the ground away from you, so you feel the space in between your shoulder blades expand.

On your next inhale, start bringing your knees toward your chest, alternating as you go so it feels like you’re running in place. Keep your hips down and work hard to prevent them from getting into a piked position. Go for 30 repetitions.

Running gloves

Keep your hands warm.

Walking Lunges

Lunges are an overall great exercise for toning and activating your entire lower body and when you incorporate movement, they become even more powerful. That’s when balance and the activation of your core muscles become even more prominent.

Start in a standing position, feet separated at a hip-width distance. Engage your core muscles and on your inhale, step forward with your right leg, bending both knees as you go. Try to keep a 90 degree angle from your hip to your knee and down to your ankle. Exhale and extend your legs, pushing back from your left leg to bring your left foot to meet your right.

On your next inhale, step forward with your left foot, repeating the whole exercise 10 times on each side. Your core needs to be tight to prevent toppling over, so try to keep your upper body as still as possible.

Running shoes

Cushioned and supportive, right where you need them.

Calf Raises

Running is tough on your calves and they can often get pretty sore and tight. That’s why they need to be properly warmed up to prevent any ankle or knee pain.

Come close to a wall or a railing and place your hands firmly to steady yourself. Bring your feet together and on your inhale, lift your heels up, feeling the activation of your calves. Exhale and bring the heels down. Repeat 15-20 times.

If you want an additional challenge, stand on a step with your heels slightly over the edge. On your inhale, come high onto your toes, and on the exhale, bring your heels back down, trying to extend your Achilles tendon as far as it will go. This might bring your heels lower, past the step, which only intensifies the exercise.

Trigger point foam roller

Get deep into your muscle fibers with this awesome foam roller.

Shoulder Circles

Even though running is more about the lower body, you shouldn’t neglect to warm up your upper body too. Long runs can be tough on your shoulders so it’s important to properly warm them to avoid pinched nerves and pain.

Start in a standing position, feet separated at a hip-width distance. Bring your arms to the sides and on your inhale, start making large circles around your body. Keep your core engaged and still, so you’re only isolating your arms and shoulders. Go for 10-15 circles both, clockwise and counter-clockwise.

Running socks

Keep your feet warm and dry.

These are some of the best exercises to get your body all warmed up and ready to hit the road. If you’re planning on heading out early in the morning, you might also benefit from these powerful yoga moves. Check them out!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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