Runners are confused about what to wear for runs every fall and winter. It is simple to know what to wear for running in hot weather. You should wear as little as you can. What should you wear when running in the cold?
This is difficult because you start cold but warm up after the first mile. You may find that the weather changes as you run. Many runners overdress to avoid feeling cold. It’s hard enough getting out of the dark house in the dark! Fear of not warming up.
However, runners often underestimate how warm they feel and don’t wear enough. This is particularly true for runners who think they will be warm enough to run at a race pace but never feel comfortable. (And who wants the hassle of removing layers while racing?
Don’t make my big winter running mistake!
I have been to many races and runs without warming up. Raynaud syndrome (poor circulation) makes it difficult for me to stay warm when I get cold. My hands and feet also lose function and feel. I have a hard time dressing up for cold running. (I was born in Chicago, so I have had many cold runs.
My last race, the 2019 Indianapolis Marathon, was below 20 at its start, but it would warm up to the mid-30s. I thought I would also warm up. I felt I needed to dress up like an elite to qualify for the Olympic Trials Qualifying Time. I wore a tank, with arm sleeves and short sleeves, along with long compression socks, gloves, and an oversized headband.
The whole time, I was FRIZZING. I’m not sure why I thought dressing for a race was different from dressing for a regular run or workout. Don’t repeat my error!
How many layers do I need to wear when running in the cold?
It can be difficult to decide what to wear while running in cold temperatures. Do you overheat and feel miserable, or do you lose your feeling in certain body parts?
There is an alternative. You can dress in layers to keep warm in the cold and make sure those layers are sweat-wicking. Cotton absorbs sweat and can make you feel cold. Depending on the temperature, you will need to layer at least 2 or 4 layers.
I am combining my knowledge with others to ensure that you don’t have a cold winter or overheated run.
This article will cover:
- How cold can it get to run?
- How to stop cold air from causing discomfort and why it is so painful to inhale
- Winter running dressing guidelines
- This is the best winter running gear.
- What to wear for running in all temperatures
Can you run in cold temperatures?
Dr Melanie C. Prior, MD, states that it is safe to exercise in cold temperatures up to -15°F.
Subzero temperatures require that you cover your skin, limit long exposure and stay close to your home.
Why does cold air make me feel so sick?
Amie Dworecki is a Chicago-based running coach.
She explains that a scarf can be wrapped around your nose and mouth to prevent this from happening. This will warm and humidify your air as you inhale it.
You may have exercise-induced asthma if you experience difficulty breathing or wheezing.
What should I wear to run in cold weather?
Layers are important for running in cold conditions, especially wool layers.
Paul Ronto, RunRepeat says to wear merino wool as your mid- and base layers. It’s warm and doesn’t smell during a hard run. Merino wool also wicks moisture better than synthetic materials, which is important for winter runs.
Ronto suggests a durable water laminate coating or laminate that is weather-resistant for your top layer. Goretex is not breathable and can cause you to sweat more.
If you are running in snowy or wet conditions, Gortex is recommended for your feet.
These are some tips to help you dress for cold conditions.
How to run in winter:
- You will be moving and elevating your body heat, so dress as if it were 15-20 degrees warmer than it is.
- Consider the “Feels by” temperatures when dressing, as wind chill and dewpoint can make it seem colder than it is.
- Avoid cotton as it absorbs moisture and keeps it against your skin, making it feel colder. Choose wool or synthetic fibers such as Polartec instead.
- Layers are recommended, with a base layer and a heavy or medium-weight long sleeve vest or vest on top, depending on the temperature.
- You can also wear running tights, gloves, wind/rainproof jackets and long wool running socks.
- YakTrax can be used to improve the traction of your shoes if it is slippery outside.
- Wear Goretex trail shoes if you are running in wet or snow conditions.
- Wear something reflective or light-emitting if it is dark. Also, a headlamp.
- To prevent chapping, apply Vaseline or chapstick to the skin.
Winter Running Gear 2022
This winter running gear is guaranteed to keep you safe and warm in the snow, ice, and cold. These are my favorites, as well as those of other mother runners.
- Base Layer: Tracksmith Brighton Basis Layer or Underarmor mock Turtleneck
- Mid-layerOiselle Long-Sleeve or Harrier Long Sleeve
- Top Layer: Tracksmith Downeaster
- Running vest: Nathan Streak Reflective Vest
- Running tightsTracksmith’s Turnover Tight, or Vuori Daily Leggings
- Fleece-lined running tights: Altheta Altitude Powertec Tight
- Outer layer joggers: ON Running Pants
- Windbreaker: Patagonia Houdini Jacket
- Rain jacket: Janji Pack Jacket
- Mittens –Oiselle Superior Puff Mittens (you also have the option to wear wool socks on your fingers)
- Wool Hat: Tracksmith Varsity cap or Lululemon Ear Heater or Trailheads Ponytail Hat
- Wool socks: Smartwool cold ankle socks or SwiftWick Hi-Vis socks
- Shoe Traction: YakTrax, Icebug trail shoes
- Headlamp: Black Diamond Astro Headlamp
- Buff: Smartwool Merino250 Neck Gaiter or scarf
- Light-emitting Gear: Nathan Strobe light, NoxGearTracer2 Light Vest or the LED Foot
- Body guide don’t forget chapstick and lube to avoid chapping and chaffing
Winter running dressing guide
This guide will help you decide what to wear, depending on the temperature.
You should wear a base layer and at least one layer of a top layer when running in cold conditions. Long tights are a good option, and mittens and long socks.
What to wear when running in 40-50 degree temperatures:
Layer a lightweight top over a tank-like base layer tank. Capris, shorts or tights that are lightweight.
What to wear when running in 30-40 degree temperatures:
Layer a light base layer with tights, gloves, hat and a vest.
What to wear when running in 20-30 degree temperatures:
Warm or thermal running tights with a base layer, top layer and warm socks.
What to Wear Running in 10-20 Degrees
Base layer, mid-layer long sleeves shirt, windbreaker or vest, windbreaker or running jacket, fleece-lined tights or tights over nylon pants, plus a buff, scarf, wool cap, warm mittens longer thermal socks.
What should I wear for running in temperatures between 0-10?
Base layer, mid-layer thick long-sleeve shirt or windbreaker, vest or running jacket, fleece-lined tights (or tights with nylon trousers over), plus a buff scarf, wool cap, warm mittens and longer thermal socks.
What should I wear when running in subzero temperatures?
Although you can run, do you want? Instead, get a treadmill! If you have to, go for a treadmill!
To avoid getting cold to the bone, warm up indoors immediately after running.
Running in winter can be very relaxing and enjoyable if you are dressed appropriately.