We’ve all been there. One day you’re running on a mild 60-degree day with the sun beaming down on you, then seemingly overnight the weather drops to near-freezing levels and the wind is howling outside your window.
When the temperatures dip it can be challenging to get outside, but as long as your gear and mindset are up for a slight challenge you’ll find yourself crushing those runs like never before! We spoke to some seasoned runners and asked them what their best cold-weather-running advice was, and they delivered!
- I start chilly and use my effort to warm up. In those temps, I wear a pair of tights, a long shirt, glove liners, and a headband that covers my ears. No jacket is necessary unless it is windy or raining.
- I dress a layer below what I would normally wear around. For example, I usually wear a hoodie and maybe a light coat over that when going around, but to run I would just wear a long sleeve and maybe a t-shirt as well. Even if you feel chilly before you start running, that’s fine. You’ll warm up quite a bit when you get going.
- Experiment with layers. Everyone feels temperatures differently. Layers allow precise adjustment. Maybe different materials and thicknesses of long sleeve t-shirts and a vest. Thin cap or gloves if needed.
- When it hits 50 for me, I wear gloves. I also get cold very quickly so anything 60ish and below I wear tights. My tops depend on the wind honestly.
- Try out the website dressmyrun.com; it uses your location, time, weather, and any factors ( such as if you get cold easily ) to tell you how to dress. I used it when I first started running and it was very helpful.
- A good hat, socks, and gloves will go a long way in keeping extremities warm. Don’t skimp on those.
- Hands. Getting proper running gloves this winter was a game-changer.
- Thin gloves are what I find the most helpful in staying warm during the winter runs.
- I will typically wear 3/4 running tights or a long-sleeved shirt, a headband to cover my ears, and running gloves. I take the gloves on and off to help regulate my temperature. Below 0 degrees, I wear both the tights and the long-sleeved shirt.
- You will need less clothing than you think. Last week, I ran 18 miles in 16-degree weather wearing a long sleeve thermal tech shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a wind jacket, and running tights under my shorts. At times, I was almost too hot (the sun helped).
- It’s only cold at the beginning. The hardest part is getting over the cold mentally. I always say that I can quit after one mile if I’m too cold. I never do.
- Not really about the dress, but worth mentioning that colder weather means shorter days. Plan your runs keeping in mind that the sun sets sooner and quicker.
- When it gets dark visibility is key. A good headlamp is vital in these situations. I can’t tell you how many times when I started hiking and running I would misjudge my timing and end up in the dark.
- Warm-up EXTRA well. Stretch well. Make sure you don’t take your warm-up clothes off until the last minute before your run. Keep moving even when they’re off
- Make sure the legs will stay warm, the face is covered but breathable, ears are covered and hands are covered.
- Stay hydrated. Cold, dry air pulls moisture from your lungs and you will still sweat. If you carry a water bottle, be careful, the water may freeze.
- Transitioning to cold weather running usually brings injuries to new runners as suddenly they run faster and longer. Follow the rules of not progressing too fast and for too long of a distance. Your tendons and ligaments adapt slower than your cardio.
- If it’s possible, do some warm-up stuff indoors before you head outside. Things like ankle/hip activation or strengthening. Make sure you protect your ears, hands, and neck. I like using a buff/neck gaiter for my neck and my ears if it’s that cold outside. Layers are your friend, if you have too many just tie them around yourself.