I remember the first time I went running in cold weather. It was below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and I thought that I had better bundle up if I was going to be outside for a full thirty minutes! So bundle up I did! I wore a hat, gloves, a scarf, warm fuzzy socks and those earmuffs that have the wire in them and can be folded up.
If you have ever run in the cold, or even run outdoors at all, you might see where I went wrong. Ten minutes into the run I was a sweaty mess with a scarf that kept falling off and earmuffs that I wanted to throw into the nearest trashcan (since they were digging into my ears). There is a better way friends. Learn from my mistakes and make running in cold weather as pleasant as possible.
First of all, abide by the running in cold weather rule of thumb: dress as though it is 20 degrees (F) warmer than it actually is outdoors. Yes, wind chill can come into play so maybe change it to 10 degrees on a windy day, but the basic principal stands. You will usually warm up 10-20 minutes into your run, at which point you wont want to be bogged down by extra clothing.
Running a race in cold weather: If you are running in a busy race, such as one with 40 thousand runners (I did one like this a month ago), you might want to consider the amount of time you will be waiting outside in the cold before you the race begins. It might be a good idea to wear extra clothing. At most races, items of clothing left on the side of the road will be cleaned and donated to local homeless shelters so you can wear extra layers and toss them when you no longer need them to run in the cold.
Stick with your usual running clothing material. I found out the hard way that just because it is cold outside does not mean you should change the type of material you usually wear to run. Wear breathable, sweat wicking clothing that is comfortable and won’t chafe when running long distances.
Layer up properly. I did at least have this part right when I started out, but I did it with the wrong materials. You can always take off a jacket to tie around your waist, but it is tricky if you are trying to be stylish with a long-sleeved tee layered under a short-sleeved one. I have even seen some runners wear a jacket underneath their short-sleeved shirt which makes me scratch my head. You really cannot predict how exactly you will feel once you start running. It’s always best to be prepared to remove a layer of clothing instead of being stuck with what you are wearing.
Wear comfortable accessories. That scarf I had on my first time running? Big mistake. It was some kind of heavy, scratchy wool that I thought would keep me warm, but it irritated me instead. The earmuffs I wore that dug into my ears? Another big mistake. Now I only run with headband style earmuffs — they’re comfortable throughout the run, and I can let them hang around my neck when I get too warm.
Try to wear pockets. If you’re like me, my hands get warm then cold, warm then cold through an entire run in the cold. It’s handy to have pockets instead of having to hold gloves when your hands get too warm. Also if you’re like me, your nose might tend to run a bit so you can always stash a tissue or two in a pocket.
Lastly, safety first. Try not to run on snow or ice unless you have the right traction. I know you might be training for a race and it tends to be better to run outdoors when training, but consider the risks. Is it really worth running in the cold or icy weather if you might injure yourself in the process? If you need to run outdoors then consider purchasing ice cleats or clips that can be put on your regular running shoes to help keep you upright when running on snow or ice.
If you are running in cold weather, don’t make the same mistakes I did. It is possible to have a good run outdoors no matter what the temperature if you do it right. Layer-up, make sure it’s breathable, and don’t use anything that’s too bulky!
Have you ever run in the cold?
Do you have any minimum or maximum temperature requirements for running outdoors? Mine range is usually from 20 to 80 degrees (f).
Originally posted 2013-11-26 14:46:50.