Thursday, November 10, 2011

Running in Cold Weather

Since Winter is finally upon us, lets talk about temps, clothes and what to wear.

Some fun facts:
  1. We run most optimally at 55 degrees 
  2. An extra layer of clothing is worth about 15 degrees

Here are some guidelines that I like to follow when dressing for certain temps.

This doesn’t mean this will work for you, but it's a great starting point for you to figure out what your best combination is.

50-60 degrees: Tshirt and shorts, sometimes capris
40-50 degrees: Long sleeve shirt, or T-shirt with gloves; shorts, capris or leggings (yes, even men wear running leggings!)
30-40 degrees: Long sleeve shirt, fleece vest, capris or leggings – gloves, earband
20-30 degrees: long sleeve shirt, another shirt/jacket over that, leggings, specialty warmth socks, gloves and hat/earbands –

Your base layers, those closest to your skin, should always be moisture-wicking so that it gets drawn to your clothes instead of accumulating and letting you become chilled. No cotton!

I recommend specialty socks for anything colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit where frost bite can get your toes. Remember, shoes are meant to expel warmth and let coolness in.

Lastly, you don’t need expensive gear!! I love the C9 Champion line from Target!! Old Navy has a great running leggings and $1 gloves are my friend. I have lots missing it's pair!

Any other tips you want to share?


  1. Thanks for the tips! A neck gaiter or balaclava to keep your neck warm can make the cold a lot more comfortable--especially if there is wind.

  2. Thanks for the tips! I wish I'd read that fun fact about layers adding 15 degrees before my first-ever cold run on Saturday. It was hard deciding what was going to be warm without being too hot. I managed to get a pretty good combo, though, so it was good.

    I'll be keeping your tips in mind for my next cold-weather run. Any favorite cold-weather socks? My feet being cold until Mile 2 was the worst part.

  3. @Sisu thanks for the tip!

    @Kris: we've all made that mistake =) I'm still looking for the perfect winter sock. Normally I wear my moisture-wicking socks and then layer a thicker cotton blend over them. Hope that helps!

  4. It feels like my hands, legs and whole body are freezing in cold. I only love spring, neither too cold nor too hot. Using instrument to measure wind speed for weather report, you will be able to see the changes in weather.