I wanted to chat a little bit about running in cold weather. Because here in Boulder, it’s been chilly. Teen’s and 20’s, chilly! At least we’ll be warming up into the mid to upper 30’s this week. Our fall has quickly transitioned to winter!
I’m going to give you fair warning, though, and let you know that I won’t be telling you to cozy up by the fire and sip a mug of hot cocoa. Save that for after the run.
One of the most important things to consider is what you’ll be wearing. Keep in mind that you should always dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer. This is due to your body heat; once you get going, you warm up quite a bit. Layering is a good way to start. I typically opt for wicking fabrics that can help with sweating; or those items that offer extra ventilation. On a very cold day, say, below 30 degrees, I’ll wear a wicking tank or short-sleeve top, with a long sleeve running top over that. Often, I’ll also wear a jacket. This is especially the case if there is wind, rain, or snow. I will also wear a hat or earwarmers and a pair of gloves.
My favorite pair of gloves are the Mizuno Running Glove Breath Thermo/Dryscience. They turn your hand sweat into heat! And they are the only gloves that keep my hands toasty warm. Even my fingers! I have other gloves that I wear on occasion, but the tips of my fingers always get so cold! I make sure my Mizuno’s are clean and dry before a run in really cold weather.
For bottoms, I love running tights. One pair is always fine for me.
As far as socks go, I’ll be sure to have a thick pair of SmartWool’s.
When temps really drop, either from a cold snap, or because the sun has set, I will sometimes use a neck gator that can easily slip up over my chin/nose. Another great item to wear if wind is involved!
Make sure that the route you choose is well-lit! While it will likely be dark when you are running, it also may be snowy or icy. Which also means, you might want a pair of these. Just be sure you have a good view for what is in front of you.
I would also recommend a headlamp. My Petzl headlamp is fantastic! And, it is always in my running bag!
Make sure that you have some warm clothes to change into soon after the run. If you are just running from home, I think a nice hot shower is a great way to warm up! Followed by that fire and hot cocoa, of course. However, if you are meeting someone, I recommend bringing an extra pair of socks and tops (sports bras, girls!). I love going out for some coffee or breakfast after a morning run, and I have been able to stay warm and comfortable with a fresh pair of socks and a new top. A pair of Uggs doesn’t hurt either!
When all is said and done, you’ll be glad you made it outside! And, of course, when blizzards hit, or you just can’t find the motivation, find a dreadmill for your workout. Or, make it your off day, and don’t sweat it. Literally.