Hello and happy Friday! I had a great run this morning – it was 40 degrees out, and that got me thinking about dressing for winter running. I’ve had a few requests for a post about how to dress for cold weather running, so here you go! I hope you find this helpful – feel free to share any additional tips you swear by in the comments.
I love cold weather running – I find it so much easier than running on super hot, sticky days. I know it doesn’t sound awesome to head outside for a run when it’s really cold out, but I promise once you get a few minutes into the run you will feel great. Give it a shot! The hardest part is getting out the door.
There are a lot of things to keep in mind when dressing for colder running, including:
- True temperature vs. “feels like” temperature (weather.com shares both)
- Time of day & whether the sun is shining
- Intensity and duration of run
- Whether you are more comfortable slightly too warm or slightly too cold
For me, I prefer to be a little on the cooler side for running because I overheat quickly. This morning, I checked the weather: 40 degrees, feels like 41. No wind. 6:30 a.m. start time so even though it was clear, no sun to warm us up. I had 4 miles on the docket at a casual pace, so since the run was short and not too intense, that meant wearing a little more clothing than I would have had a longer or faster/speedwork run been on the docket.
I ended up deciding on tights, a really lightweight/thin long sleeved jacket (with just a sports bra under it), and gloves.
Capris would also have worked, but I just really wanted to wear these awesome Brooks tights I received as part of my Run Happy Ambassadorship – aren’t they cute?! They’re really light/thin, so it wasn’t much different from wearing capris.
As for gloves, I bust them out anytime the weather dips below 50 degrees, especially if it’s windy and I’m carrying my trusty point and shoot camera – the cold metal makes my hand freeze quickly! Plus, if you get too hot, gloves are easy to tuck into your waistband or just hold onto for the rest of the run. If it had been just a little warmer out this morning, the thumbhole warmer from my jacket would have been plenty warm enough.
I’ve been known to wear gloves with a short sleeved shirt at the start of winter races – your arms will heat up fast but it’s good to keep your hands warm!
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to check the weather, then dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. This will ensure that once you get moving, you don’t get too hot. If you’re chilly when you walk outside and for the first few minutes of the run, that’s a good thing. If you’re comfortable just standing outside before the run, you’ll be way too hot once you get going. Also, dressing in layers for a winter run is important, but make sure the clothing you’re wearing is breathable – look for “wicking” clothing that will absorb moisture and pull it away from your body. Cotton is not a good call here.
Regarding hats or ear warmers, I usually break them out when temperatures dip below 35 or so degrees F. For today, it wasn’t necessary.
So – give winter running a shot! It might take a little trial and error to decide what works for you, clothing-wise, but you’ll figure it out in no time. And if you want some extra help, check out this cool tool I found on the Runner’s World website, which lets you enter in gender, temperature, conditions, wind, time of day, intensity, and how you like to feel (e.g. do you prefer being a little warm, a little cool, or juuuust right), and then it will spit out some thoughts on clothing. Sweet! Super helpful.
My running buddy for this morning was my friend Mary, and we had a lovely run in the clear, cool temps.
As you guys know, I’m tapering for the Richmond Marathon right now, so we covered a casual 4 miles. It’s weird that 4 miles seems super short now – I remember when, a few years ago, a 3 mile run was really far for me. How times change!
Luckily, we made it far enough out to get this gorgeous view before turning around. I think we both wanted to keep going – such a lovely morning for a run!
Mary snagged this cool shot of me taking a picture of the gorgeous view. The tights are the same colors all around – not sure why they look solid gray in the back! Must have been the shadow.
The mile long uphill that was our last mile was rough, but we kept up a great pace.
- Mile 1: 8:33
- Mile 2: 8:20
- Mile 3: 8:33
- Mile 4: 8:46
Thanks for the great start to the day, Mary!
Before I go, I wanted to share that I finally created a “favorite products” page, which shares all of my absolute favorite fitness/running gear and cooking/kitchen stuff. I’ve had a bunch of requests to put all those recommendations in one place, and I only included stuff that I use ALL the time and really, really recommend. I hope it’s helpful! In the future, you can find a link to that page over on my FAQ page, and in the drop down menu under “Running”.
Have a great weekend!